Angel Alvarado: 2023 dual-enrollment graduate headed to the U.S. Air Force Academy ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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Angel Alvarado: 2023 dual-enrollment graduate headed to the U.S. Air Force Academy

Angel Alvarado with his younger sister, Genesis.
Angel Alvarado with his younger sister, Genesis.

Getting his associate degree first has given 2023 graduate Angel Alvarado just the lift he needed as he prepares to begin the next chapter of his life at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

He applied to the Mountain Vista Regional Governor’s School during his sophomore year at Fauquier High School, after moving from Prince William County.

“Applying to the governor’s school was kind of a shot in the dark,” Alvarado said. “When I was accepted, I looked a bit more into it and I saw what was possible with it. I thought this would be a great opportunity.”

He realized that getting his associate degree simultaneously as his high school diploma would cut down on time and tuition costs if he decided to transfer to one of the many colleges around Virginia that have transfer agreements with Laurel Ridge. And, if he decided to go out of state to college, Alvarado thought having the degree under his belt would make him more competitive.

“I thought it was wonderful,” Alvarado said of his dual-enrollment classes. “The teachers were amazing, very supportive, and with the small classes, they were able to help you so much more with one-on-one teaching time. The classes were a lot more challenging than regular high school classes. That’s kind of what I needed, and set me up better for what I would be looking at when attending a four-year college.”

After graduating in 2023, Alvarado attended Georgia Military College ahead of his acceptance into the U.S. Air Force Academy.

“I would say Mountain Vista prepared me perfectly for Georgia Military College,” Alvarado said. “It was kind of like ROTC. You’re taking these classes, kind of like I took at the governor’s school. On top of that, you have this corps of cadets you’re a part of.”

Alvarado reports to the Air Force Academy on June 26. He is deciding between two programs at the Air Force Academy – engineering or a double major in political science and foreign area studies. His end goal is to become a commercial airline pilot.

He thinks his experience at Laurel Ridge will serve him well at the academy.

“The way that the college kind of forces you to manage your time, that’s a big one, especially with going into a military school,” he said. “I feel like Laurel Ridge did a great job of creating the work load that requires students to improve their time management skills.”

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.