Making the Very Most of High School

Muir High School junior Kennedy Hackett on her way to earning her AA degree by Fall of her senior year

Over the last year, high school students have endured a host of hardships with their schooling, beginning with not being able to attend campus at all for most of the past eight months. Add to that the shift to online extracurricular activities, interacting with friends, and all the activities that make high school memorable.

Kennedy Hackett, a 16-year-old junior at John Muir High School Early College Magnet, is making the most of her time at home. Hackett will soon earn her two-year Associate of Arts degree from Pasadena City College, nearly three years before most high school grads might qualify.

Though in lockdown like most students since March, Hackett told Pasadena Now recently that she’s kept plenty busy with schoolwork, homework, and SAT preparation.

“I’m pretty busy most of the time, but I do try to make time for myself just so that I’m not overstressed.”

Though she’s earning her AA early, Hackett will continue to finish her high school education before transferring to a four-year college to extend her education, with her eye on a career in medicine.

“I will definitely be doing my four-year degree right after I graduate high school,” she said, but added, “I’m not sure where I want to go yet.”

Hackett is currently considering UCLA, USC, Stanford, or perhaps a school in North Carolina.

“I love UNC Chapel Hill,” said Hackett. “That’s one of my favorite schools. And then after that, I plan on going to medical school.”

Hackett has set a goal of becoming a pediatrician, saying, “I’ve always had an interest in being a pediatrician … since the second or third grade. I’ve always enjoyed going to the pediatrician, so I feel like that’s my calling.”

Her achievement would be significant in a typical year, but she has managed to accomplish his goal in a year when setting foot on an actual campus was problematic. Acknowledging her own goals, she offered the following advice for his student peers.

“I would just say pursue your dreams,” she said,  “and there are always obstacles that will come in between you and the things that you want to do, but as long as you have perseverance, then you’ll be able to do it.”


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