ACC Hays offers high schoolers more opportunities closer to home

Brooklyn Puckett, 16 (above), talks to an ACC staff member about starting her college career at the Hays campus in 2014 after she graduates from Hays High. (Photo by Kim Hilsenbeck)

 

by KIM HILSENBECK

Hays CISD high school students and other area residents have few local options for a community college unless they drive into Austin or San Marcos. But come spring of 2014, they can enroll in Austin Community College Hays.

The new campus will hold 2,000 students and offer more than 200 programs. Even better, it’s easily accessible. The new campus is slated to open in the spring of 2014 at the intersection of Kohler’s Crossing and FM 1626.

For Brooklyn Puckett and Morgan Brown, who attended the ACC Hays College Fair last Wednesday, the opening of ACC will coincide well with their graduations.

Puckett, 16, is a junior at Lehman High School. She plans to start college at ACC and go into the medical field. What kind of medicine?

“I’m thinking maybe of becoming a vet,” Brown said.

She spent some time speaking with an ACC representative at the Health Sciences booth at the fair, learning about the program and what it has to offer prospective students.

Brown, 16, is a junior at Hays High School. She is also considering enrolling in ACC.

“I’m really interested in history,” Morgan said.

When the ACC Hays campus opens in two years, area residents will be able to select course offerings in more than 200 programs including health sciences, communications and technology.

ACC Hays will also offer core curriculum courses in English, Math, Humanities, History and Natural Sciences, among other choices.

ACC President and CEO Richard Rhodes, who spoke earlier in the morning at the groundbreaking celebration, said most ACC students transfer to four-year colleges without missing a beat.

Rhodes said ACC’s partnership with local and regional universities make choosing ACC the right option for students seeking good paying jobs. He said many ACC students find satisfying careers in healthcare, while other do very well as technicians and first responders.

Ray Hernandez, Kyle Chamber of Commerce executive director, also spoke at the groundbreaking celebration. He told the story of a young man fresh out of the Army who needed help and direction. Hernandez said ACC gave him both.

Puckett and Brown seemed excited about the possibility of going to ACC Hays, even if it’s just for the first two years before transferring to a university.

Perhaps one day Puckett will follow in Dr. Christina Sheely’s footsteps. Sheely attended ACC, eventually transferring to the University of North Texas and attending medical school.

Sheely, a Hays High School graduate, recently opened an orthopedic surgery practice in Kyle.

Who knows – maybe local residents will one day take their pets to Dr. Brooklyn Puckett.

As for Brown, the community may see her become a professor at ACC, just like her mother.

No matter their futures, ACC Hays will help them start here, get there.

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