Graduation Spotlight: Meet Adriana Calixto

Adriana Calixto Image

Austin Community College District (ACC) celebrates more than 3,500 graduates at its fall 2022 commencement ceremony. Friends and family are invited to congratulate students Thursday, December 8 at the HEB Center in Cedar Park.

One of those students is Adriana Calixto. Adriana completed her associate degree in Education, completely online, with plans to become an educator. Learn more about how the mother of two was able to stay on track to graduate.

Written by: Adriana Calixto

My name is Adriana Calixto. I am 23 years old and a mom of two boys. My oldest is 4 years old, and my youngest is 7 months old. When I was 18, I got pregnant in the middle of my senior year.

I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, you really just did it now, huh? You got pregnant in high school.’ I was so hard on myself and convinced myself that I was never going to succeed. I did not envision a happy life.

Despite the negative thoughts, I pushed myself above my comfort level. I kept my pregnancy a secret, went on with my everyday routine, going to dance practice, and being the leader I had to be. I competed in Hawaii for nationals and was able to finish my dance journey. One week before graduation, I announced my pregnancy.

When I look back at that journey, I realize how ignorant I was. I really thought I would amount to nothing. That I would never be able to go to college and start a new life.

Because of ACC, I was able to create this new life for myself. I was a single mom, terrified of starting college. Not only was it the peak of COVID-19, but it was also the darkest point of my life. I was so alone.

When I started in Summer of 2020, I took EDUC-1300 with Dr.Huerta. After explaining my struggles, she recommended I take ACC counseling. She submitted a referral, and I got the help I needed. From then on, I told myself I could do anything. She really sparked something in me I had not had in a very long time.

As I got closer to graduating, I saw how much I’d grown. I got married, had another baby during this recent spring semester, and started this wonderful job in special education. My teaching internship is coming up right after graduation, so I am very close to being in a classroom.

I will forever be so incredibly grateful for ACC. I have met so many amazing professors as well as students who have made this such a memorable experience. I could not have done this without their support. I tear up just thinking about how far I’ve come.

ACC is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so ready to keep continuing my education and will for sure encourage my future students to start with ACC. I will tell them that anything is possible and you CAN go to school at any point in their life.