Thursday was a big day at Arlington College and Career High School.
The Class of 2023, the first senior class at ACCHS, was together for one of the few times this year.
Why is that the case? Because the 88 seniors are rarely at the campus they started their journey on in the fall of 2019. They are now taking classes at Tarrant County College, the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Wesleyan.
That’s what happens when you’re graduating in the spring with your diploma and a bunch of college credits.
The first graduating class from ACCHS will certainly have plenty of memories of everything they’ve gone through since they started.
“Just watching them, they’ve had to overcome a lot especially with the pandemic and everything,” said ACCHS principal Dr. Ben Bholan. “I’m proud of what they achieved. They’re far along in the process and a very motivated group. They’ve stuck with this.”
ACCHS is the second early college high school in the district. Bholan was the principal at Arlington Collegiate High School when it opened and then went to ACCHS when it opened with the current seniors in 2019.
The difference between the two schools is that ACCHS students can earn workforce certifications in specialized areas through TCC.
ACCHS students Thursday got to listen to the Jostens representative speak to them about their graduation next spring. They also heard from Arlington ISD superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, who wanted to speak to the seniors.
“You made a decision in eighth grade to join a school maybe you didn’t know too much about,” said Cavazos. “You didn’t because we hadn’t opened it yet. You did all the things you’re supposed to do to be successful. I’m proud of you for so many reasons. You have learned what it takes people years to learn. What you’ve already learned about perseverance and your future, about setting a goal, about working through hard times, sometimes it takes people years to figure that stuff out. You’ve already experienced it. What a blessing that is. You’re prepared.”
Prepared for sure. What the seniors at ACCHS are now beginning to realize is how quickly the time has gone by since they first came to the campus in 2019.
“It went by in a blink,” said Salma Saleh, who is taking classes at UTA and TCC and then will head to the University of Texas at Dallas. “I remember being terrified as a freshman. Now I think about how everything is coming to an end. I think ACCHS has given me a new perspective on life that I couldn’t have gotten at any other school. ACCHS has made me feel like I’m part of a family. I feel very united and like I had a purpose. I always felt like I was doing something to help me and my family.”