ACC celebrates graduates at fall commencement

Overcoming challenges is nothing new to Karen Gonzales.

“I know how hard it is to struggle and how easy it can be to want to give up when life feels overwhelming,” says Gonzales. “It’s worth staying true to your goals. Our challenges do not define who we are. Instead, they can give us the courage and strength to persevere.”

KG 2 (1)Gonzales has lived with a disability most of her life. She uses a wheelchair for mobility, but it hasn’t slowed her down. It’s inspired her.

“I’m determined to help others through their struggles,” says Gonzales. “My experience at ACC has forged a promising pathway.”

As a student at ACC, Gonzales achieved membership with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and was named a campus leader with Student Life.

She dedicates her time outside the classroom to volunteer work, serving as a crisis counseling intern and helping at-risk youth through the Texas Youth and Runaway Hotline providing intervention, advocacy, and information and referrals to teens and parents in crisis. She has volunteered at the Austin Child Guidance Center and organized donation drives to provide more resources for the play and therapy rooms.  Her passion for animals inspired her to volunteer with animal rescue organizations as well.

Gonzales will join hundreds of other ACC students who will graduate in the college’s fall commencement Thursday, December 10, at 6 p.m. in the Frank Erwin Center (1701 Red River St.).

“This is an evening to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice our students have made over the years,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “We’re proud to see their hard work come to fruition. The ceremony is electrifying. You can feel the excitement.”

Gonzales will receive ACC’s Presidential Student Achievement Award during commencement.  She will transfer to Texas State University to earn a bachelor’s degree and strives to pursue her masters to become a social worker and counsel at-risk youth.

“It’s an honor,” says Gonzales. “I’m grateful for the education I received at ACC. I’m going to really miss my school.”

For more details on the graduation ceremony, visit

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