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El Paso ISD statement on the passing of Austin High School alumna Sandra Day O'Connor

It is with deep sadness that the El Paso Independent School District mourns the passing of a distinguished alumna and trailblazing figure, Sandra Day O’Connor, who played a pivotal role in the legal history of our nation. Justice O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, passed away on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. 

Justice O’Connor was not only a legal luminary but also a proud alumna of the El Paso Independent School District. At the age of 16, she enrolled at Austin High School where she excelled academically and graduated sixth in her class of 156 in 1946. Her time at Austin High School left an indelible mark on her, shaping the foundations of her future achievements. 

Throughout her illustrious career, Justice O’Connor remained connected to her roots, visiting El Paso on multiple occasions, including attending her high school's 50th reunion celebration. Her commitment to public service and dedication to justice were values she cultivated during her formative years in our district. 

As a lasting tribute to her legacy, Austin High School proudly houses the Sandra Day O’Connor Public Service Academy. This program provides students with a specialized education in criminal justice, forensics, and legal studies, reflecting Justice O’Connor's enduring influence and commitment to public service. 

The El Paso Independent School District extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sandra Day O’Connor. We join the nation in recognizing her extraordinary contributions to the legal profession and the advancement of women in leadership roles. Justice O'Connor's life serves as an inspiration to current and future generations of students within our district. 

In this time of reflection, we honor the memory of Sandra Day O’Connor and express our gratitude for her remarkable contributions to the legal landscape of our great nation. 

— Diana Sayavedra
Superintendent of Schools