For Diana Quintanilla, 2020 alumna of Alamance Community College, the road to making her mark as a Georgetown University freshman this fall was a journey few students have to face. As an individual who didn’t speak a word of English until age four and for whom the immigrant experience was not always greeted with smiles, Diana now finds the world at her feet as she maneuvers through her first semester online as a Georgetown Hoya.
“The adjustment everyone had to make to remote learning via Zoom was difficult, but my Georgetown professors have been so supportive and my classes are so engaging,” says Diana, who was the 2020 valedictorian at Cummings High School in Burlington. “It would have been a big change to move to D.C. altogether, so I am thankful to be with my family in these difficult times. Yet there is still a part of me that wants to be there on campus. Maybe [not being on campus yet] is why I struggle to believe that I am truly a Georgetown student.”
But Diana Quintanilla is, indeed, a freshman at the highly selective private university in our nation’s capital where she is studying Global Health. Although she has lived in the United States since age two, she nevertheless found it hard to believe that she had been accepted to Georgetown earlier this year.
Diana is the latest among several Alamance Community College graduates who have been accepted to prestigious higher institutions in the past few years, including Duke University, M.I.T., and the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Then Diana discovered Alamance Community College and its unique and cost-cutting Career and College Promise program. Career and College Promise (CCP) is a free initiative courtesy of the NC Community College System that allows high school students to earn multiple hours of college credit by taking courses at the local community college while still matriculating through high school. “I decided to take CCP classes at ACC due to the academic competitiveness among my top ten peers,” she explains. “I saw ACC as a good opportunity to take more classes and boost my grade point average.”
“In the long run, I would like to attend graduate school and work for a non-profit,” says Diana. “All with the mindset of paying it forward and making those who have supported me–family, teachers, mentors, and friends–very proud and making my mother’s sacrifice worth it. Because as my mother likes to say, “Todo sacrificio tiene su recompensa,” which means Every sacrifice has its reward.”