ACC honors Kelynne Gaines with Presidential Student Achievement Award


Kelynne Gaines receives Presidential Student Achievement Award

Inspired by his late mother to never give up on his goals, Kelynne Gaines will graduate Austin Community College (ACC) in December and travel abroad to Temple University Japan Campus to continue his studies as an international student.

“I learned suddenly how important it is to live each day to its fullest. I lost not only my mother, but also one of my good friends around the same time. It was an eye opener,” says Gaines. “It showed me that life is short and fueled me to pursue my passions.”

“It showed me that life is short and fueled me to pursue my passions.”

Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Kelynne moved to Austin and enrolled at ACC to earn the Associate of Arts in Japanese degree. He graduates magna cum laude this fall with a 3.9 GPA and will continue to study visual storytelling and the Japanese language abroad.

Gaines has made friends in Austin’s Japanese community to learn about their traditions and practice the language skills he has learned in class. He hopes to one day master the language and publish a book.

“All my life I have worked hard for anything I wanted. I was raised independently and I thank my mother for doing so.”

As a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Gaines has made a difference serving the community, attaining skills that have changed his life both academically and emotionally.

“It goes to show that someone that has fallen down can most certainly get back up,” he says. “Student Life and Phi Theta Kappa have helped me grow as a person in leadership and fellowship.”

Gaines will receive ACC’s Presidential Student Achievement Award during commencement exercises Friday, December 16, at the Frank Erwin Center. He was selected by the committee for his perseverance, drive, compassion, and sense of purpose. As a spiritual person, he knows his mother and friend will be rooting him on as he reaches this milestone.

“They were there for me when I was struggling in life, trying to find my way academically,” he says. “Their support brought me to this moment. I’ll carry it with me as I study abroad.”

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