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For Monica Villarreal, sometimes it appears unreal that she finished high school in 2002 and that she is now an accomplished professional serving in the U.S. Army.
A graduate of Premier High School of Del Rio, Villarreal enrolled during her junior year at the age of 17. She left her home at the towards the end of her sophomore year at Del Rio High School.
“I had an altercation with my mother and I left home to live with my friend,” she recalled.
She began her junior year at the age of 16 at PHS Del Rio. She said she was surprised to find the school staff motivated her much more than anyone had ever done at her traditional school.
“Once I realized that this was a self-paced school, I knew that I had made the right decision. I had always been a go-getter and the self-paced system allowed me to enhance my potential,” Villarreal said, “It allowed me to quickly finish work on subjects that I was familiar with, and allowed me to more time to work on subjects I wasn’t as strong at. And at the times where I felt stuck, there was always someone nearby to guide me in the right direction.”
Villarreal completed her junior and senior year in one and graduated as her class salutatorian.
“I was beat out of the valedictorian spot by only tenths of our GPA,” she said.
After graduation from the charter school, Villarreal took part of the Bridge to Success program at Texas A&M International University in the summer of 2002. After completing the program, she attended the local junior college.
After spending a year at home, Villarreal decided to join the Army.
“This August I will have been enlisted for eight years now as an intelligence professional,” she said.
She has done a tour in Iraq in 2005 and 2006 and is presently serving in Afghanistan. She also spent time stationed in Hawaii and Miami and have traveled to Korea and Germany.
“As a staff sergeant and am able to use the leadership skills I learned at Premier High School with my soldiers. I inspire and motivate them to always strive for their goals,” she said, “Premier High School helped shape and mold me into a model student and a leader… I have made my mother, my hometown, and my country proud, and it was all thanks to the school staff believing in me and my potential.”