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EPISD Student Spotlight: Vivian Morales, Austin High

Vivian Morales

(AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL -- Nov. 6, 2020) — Austin’s Vivian L. Morales credits her experience in the Sandra Day O’Connor/Panther New Tech program for nurturing her passion for law and giving her an edge on a potential career in the field. The student athlete hopes to study criminal justice at Texas Christian University next year and later attend law school at Arizona State University. EPISD Community Engagement sat down with Vivian for a virtual interview in this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight. 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: How are you staying involved in school during the pandemic?

VIVIAN MORALES: My way of staying involved with school during this pandemic is by attending online learning, keeping in touch with friends and teachers, as well as going outside my comfort zone and joining the golf team. During these hard times, I encourage everyone to step out their comfort zone, and try a new school activity and make the best out of this school year.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What advice can you give to succeeding with remote learning?

VIVIAN MORALES: Make sure to turn in your work on time, don’t stress yourself out, even though we can’t enjoy our school year like we should, just remain positive because in the end everything happens for a reason.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What are you doing to make the most of your senior year despite the pandemic?

VIVIAN MORALES: Although I didn’t think any of us seniors saw our last year of high school to be this way, sadly this is how it turned out. Yes, I was upset about the outcome but I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and join the golf team as I wait for, hopefully, a soccer season in January.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What extracurricular activities are you involved in? 

VIVIAN MORALES: I’ve played soccer since my freshmen year, was on junior varsity team for two years and this is hopefully my second year on varsity.  I recently joined golf and have been part of the NT/SDOA Student Board since my freshman year.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What advice would you give incoming freshman? 

VIVIAN MORALES: Some advice to my incoming freshmen is: don’t be fooled. Every year counts and don’t let anyone tell you different. College is ALWAYS an option, enjoy your years of high school because before you know it, you’ll be on your last year of high school. Make friends, join school activities and most importantly have fun!


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What led you to joining the Panther New Tech/Sandra Day O'Connor Public Service Academy?

VIVIAN MORALES: Before high school, I always had a soft spot for the criminal justice and law enforcement field. When it came to choosing what high school, I had two options: either I choose to go with my friends or focus on my career. I chose my career and enrolled in Panther New Tech / Sandra Day O’Connor in the hopes of becoming a defense attorney.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Describe your experience with the academy and how it will help you with a future career?

VIVIAN MORALES: Panther New Tech is hands-on learning. Teachers have brought in different guest speakers from different departments in criminal justice and law enforcement to give us real world exposure and to see how their job profession is up close. My first two years of high school I took several trainings with Mr. Vega who has taught me most of what I know today. Mr. Quinlan and Mr. Stevens finished off my two years of high school by studying everyday based crimes. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be educated the way I am today nor have the mentality I have today.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What is the first thing you plan to do when the pandemic is over? 

VIVIAN MORALES: I plan to have a social gathering with my friends and catch up on all the time we didn’t spend together.


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Anything you’d like to add? 

VIVIAN MORALES: Stay safe and wear your mask. Also, it’s always a great day to be a Panther.

Interview by Reneé de Santos