Star Highlights

Meet our Stars at the Ann Richards School.

The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders is a nationally-recognized school focused on college readiness; project-based, STEM-focused curriculum; and administration and faculty leadership.

But the real stars of the Ann Richards School are our students who have chosen to pursue a challenging and rewarding educational journey.

Our girls believe that through hard work, achieving their dreams is possible. And we know that they will, one day, change the world.

Meet some of our Ann Richards Stars and the faculty who educate them.

Kerrisa L. | Class of 2020 | Biomedical Pathway
+ Read about: Kerissa L.
Q: How did you get interested in golf?

A: My dad plays golf so he was the one that got me interested. He would go to the golf course and I would follow him around and play with his clubs.

Q: What course do you play at the most?

A: I started at Harvey Penick and now I live by Riverside Golf Course so I am there all the time.

Q: What lessons has golf taught you that you take off the golf course and apply in the classroom?

A: At Harvey Penick a few of their nine core values are respect and honesty. I feel like those are two things you can take off the golf course and into school.

Q: What is your routine before playing a round of golf at a tournament?

A: When I play in a tournament, I talk to the other girls around me, I’m very friendly, it’s good to get to know them. You also have to stay serious, not play around too much because you have to make sure you’re playing how you should play.

Q: Do you want to play golf in college?

A: My dream since I was really little has been to go to UT and be on the golf team. I’ve met the coaches and played with them just to get myself out there. It’s difficult, the girls on the UT Golf team are really good. My goal this year, I just broke 80 a couple of weeks ago, is to break 70 and get in the low 70s.

Q: What do you like about the Ann Richards School?

A: I like that everybody is really close, I have friends from everywhere. When I was in 4th grade my mom told me I was going to go to Ann Richards and I thought no, I’m not going to wear a plaid skirt. Now, that’s all I wear. I love coming here, I’m glad I came.

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Jurnee J. | Class of 2018 | Media Tech Pathway
+ Read about: Jurnee J.
Q: What is the “My Legacy” wall?

A: “My Legacy” wall is a service project that I created along with the Service Ambassadors. We connect our school with service opportunities. I wanted to do something art related, interactive and social media based after noticing that our school did not have a lot of murals.

Q: What inspired you to create the “My Legacy” wall?

A: One winter break I went to New Orleans and I saw the “Before I die” wall, which is a chalkboard wall where people can fill it in with whatever they want to say in the blank space. That wall is the inspiration behind my piece because I wanted to create something that means something to Ann Richards girls.

Q: How did you make the “My Legacy” wall and what does it mean to you?

A: I went after-school to the MakerSpace and constructed it with Mr. Oren. It was cool, I learned how to use the different hand saws and drills.

Once I finish it I want to put my legacy on there in paint so it is there forever so everyone knows my legacy. I feel like I want to leave an imprint on this school, whether it is making a mural, creating a new organization or everyone knows me from just being myself.

Learn more about the Ann Richards School Foundation


Olga S. | Class of 2017 | Media Tech Pathway
+ Read about: Olga S.
Q: The Ann Richards School Marching Band has had a lot of success in competitions recently, how does it feel to have all of that hard work pay off?

A: It’s awesome! I joined the band when there were 40 people and seeing it grow to an almost 100 piece organization, I get so proud. Seeing us hit these milestones, have this growth and watch players get better individually and as a group, that’s been one of the coolest parts.

Q: How has the process been trying out for All-State Band?

A: Once you make region band, you work the same music and you just have to make it better. You prepare by taking the music further than just learning it, and that was the really hard part because no one can tell you how to make your music yours, you have to figure it out.

Q: How did it feel to see that you made the All-State Band?

A: I was so happy! I called my mom and told her, “I did it!” It was a lot of emotions, oh my goodness.

Q: If you were to give any advice to a student that is coming to the Ann Richards School, what would you tell them?

A: In order to get a good experience you have to invest yourself and you will get exactly what you want out of it, if not more. There are so many great things and opportunities at this school that if you stick your foot in the door, and say, “I want to try this,” people are here to support you. They want you to succeed and so if you give it a shot, put time and effort in, you’re going to get good things.


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Sierra and Julie | High School | Video Feature
+ Watch: Sierra and Julie


Calen and Trisha | Middle School | Video Feature
+ Watch: Calen and Trisha


Roxana M. | Class of 2022
+ Read about: Roxana M.
Q: What do you like about the Ann Richards School?

A: It gives me a great opportunity to go to college and make good decisions in my life to find a pathway to reach my goals.

Q: Has the coursework been difficult for you this fall?

A: At first it was a lot, but then I kept studying to make it feel like less work. I tell my friends it’s not a lot of work if you just study and try to make time for the work.

Q: How you’ve helped your younger sister and students at your neighborhood school, Pickle Elementary?

A: They teach my sister bilingual classes, but sometimes she needs help and so we’ll play a game where I’m the teacher and she is the student. She’ll take out her journal and write words that I’ll help her translate. The teachers are all really proud of her. I’ll help the Pickle students with their English class too and they’ve learned a lot.


Learn more about the Ann Richards School Foundation


Elena G. | Class of 2017 | Biomedical Pathway
+ Read about: Elena G.
Q: How has your experience been with applying to colleges?

A: Applying to colleges has been something I’ve watched upperclassmen do for years now. I was really excited to start, but it’s the submit part I’m having trouble with currently. I’ve got a whole bunch that I need to submit.

Q: Where do you want to go to college?

A: I really want to go out-of-state because I want to go into the medical field with cancer research so I feel like I’ll be in Houston after college. I want to get experience living outside of Texas first.

Q: How has the application process been working with your family?

A: College has always been something I was expected to do. I’m a second generation U.S. born, and all my great-uncles, grandparents and my mom all went to college so I’ve been very supported through this process. My mom has been very supportive and said that if I want to go out-of-state I can do it, but I need to apply for a lot of scholarships so we can pay for it.

Q: What has the Ann Richards School done for you as far as moving on to college?

A: I feel like it starts all the way in 6th grade on the very first day I came here. In elementary I was really shy and never talked. Coming here there was no one I could hide behind because I would get asked for my opinion. That has shown up again in the college application process because I have to ask schools that I visit questions that I have on my mind so that I find the right school. I’m more comfortable asking for what I want.


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Shawn Mauser | Librarian | Ann Richards School
+ Read about: Shawn M.
Q: What has it been like to be at the Ann Richards School since the very beginning?

A: Being at the Ann Richards School for the last ten years has pretty much been a highlight of my life. I’m excited because the teachers and kids amaze me. The absolute best part is seeing the 6th graders grow up and by the time they’re seniors be able to address 900 people at assembly with confidence.

Q: What kind of place do you want the Ann Richards School library to be for students and teachers?

A: I want to make sure the library gives students and teachers the tools that they need to achieve their dreams, to create, make, explore their own talents and develop new skills. That means being flexible and to find new ways to innovate with new activities and ways to use the library. I want our library to be a true 21st century space that meets the need at the point of need.

Q: Why do Ann Richards School students love to read?

A: I think we’re a perfect storm as a school for literacy. Our English department is amazing, they value and model reading. We have an administration who supports, values and invests in the library. Kids who come in who aren’t readers, we all come with the same message, read what you like.


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Keji J. | Class of 2021 | Engineering Pathway
+ Read about: Keji J.
Q: Why did you apply to the Ann Richards School?

A: In elementary school I wanted to change the world in some way. I heard my mom talking about the Ann Richards School and after learning more I thought, “yes, this is the one!”

Q: What has been your most memorable experience at the Ann Richards School?

A: I loved Make-O-Rama last year. It was was really fun working together with my advisory to make something great. Everyday I walk in I see all my friends and that welcomes me to a new day.

Q: What is it like to work in groups?

A: You have to trust yourself so your group knows that they can trust you and you can trust them to complete their task. Participation is key because everyone has a voice and everyone here can use that voice.

Q: What do you think about all the college visits?

A: They’re really interesting because a college is way more than just pictures. When you see the campus you get an idea of what you want to do. I kind of have my heart set on going to a college out-of-state.


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Brooke (3)

Brooke B. | Class of 2017 | Media Tech Pathway
+ Read about: Brooke B.
Q: What do you like most about the Ann Richards School?

A: I like the diversity here at Ann Richards. There are students who like robotics, engineering, math, science, band, athletics, art and orchestra, everyone has a different way of looking at things. The diversity really helps in general for me with growing as a person and as an artist.

Q: Why did you start the Ann Richards School Art Club?

A: I attended the Young Artists of Austin and participated in activities that I wanted to give students a cool activity to do after school. Some of the lessons that I learned at Young Artists I could teach as general ideas.

Brooke (1)
Brooke (2)
Q: What are your favorite classes?

A: Media Tech, Art, I really enjoy Biology and I love the Math here. I like numbers and learning how the body works because I can incorporate those ideas into my art.

Brooke (3)

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Lily Y. | Class of 2018 | Biomedical Pathway
+ Read about: Lily Y.
Lily (3)
Q: How did you spend your summer?

A: This summer I went to the Dell Medical School’s Health Sciences Summer Camp and everyday they taught us about different careers in the health sciences. For each career we got to participate in an activity and meet with professionals. For example we got to isolate bacteria with the antibiotics group, go to a cadaver lab where I was able to feel someone’s spleen, see a dissection of a spinal cord, view a heart and a lung. I learned a lot!

Q: What do you like about the Biomedical Pathway?

A: I feel like the things that I am learning are really going to apply to what I want to be when I grow up. I feel prepared and when I tell my mom what I am learning she says she did not learn that until college.

Lily (5)
Lily (2)
Q: How does sisterhood help you in the classroom?

A: Working in projects you can definitely feel the sisterhood. I feel like I can ask anyone in any of my classes for help and they always help. I always help others too because we are definitely all in this together.

Lily (4)

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Lizbeth F. | Class of 2021 | Engineering Pathway
+ Read about: Lizbeth F.
Lizbeth (2)
Q: Why did you apply to the Ann Richards School?

A: My sister graduated from the Ann Richards School last year. As I was growing up I got to see her teachers challenge her and I wanted that for me as well. It’s like a second generation and I can follow my sister’s footsteps here.

Q: What do you like about being a student at the Ann Richards School?

A: I like being challenged by the teachers with new projects that help me grow as a person and really make struggle so I can be prepared for the future.

Q: What is your favorite class?

A: My favorite class is history. I like that in class we get to debate and share our opinions. It’s really fun to hear what other people think.

Lizbeth (1)
Lizbeth (3)
Q: What are the teachers like at the Ann Richards School?

A: The teachers are the greatest ever. I feel like they really challenge you but they understand you as well. They know you and it’s nice to know you can trust your teacher and get treated as an adult, as someone who can overcome challenges. The sense of friendship between the teacher and student is really nice.


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Sabine J. | Class of 2021 | Engineering Pathway
+ Read about: Sabine J.
Sabine (6)
Q: Why did you apply to the Ann Richards School?

A: I’d come to a couple open houses and really liked the girls who I saw and they were enthusiastic about the school. I also liked how big and open the library is with all the books and different resources.

Q: What do you like about the Ann Richards School?

A: I like that everybody here strives to do their best, not because they want to be better than anybody else, but because they want to be a better version of themselves. Also, if someone is not doing well, even if you’re not their friend or don’t know them very well, you’ll still help them try to succeed.

Sabine (4)
Sabine (1)
Q: What is your favorite class?

A: My favorite class is PLTW (Project Lead The Way) because we’re working on making things and the design process, which is really cool, and I haven’t taken a class like that before. We’re also working in the MakerSpace and learning about the different tools like the 3D printer or laser cutter, which is something I’ve been wanting to do since the 6th grade.

Sabine (3)

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Briana P

Briana P. | Class of 2017 | Engineering Pathway
+ Read about: Briana P.
Briana P. (4)
Q: How did you spend your summer?

A: This summer I had an internship with the University of Texas at their research campus etching tips and placing particles on the tip to understand interactions at a small level. The internship definitely helped me really understand what I want to do in college. It gave me a different perspective in the engineering field. There are so many fields that connect with each other and shows that the engineering field is pretty amazing.

Q: What do you like about the Ann Richards School?

A: One of the best things about the school is that it show girls you can pursue a career in math and helps us understand we can be a leader in the world. Before coming to the Ann Richards School I was the shy one, I wouldn’t speak in front of big audiences, but now I can say I can do that with confidence.

Briana P. (3)
Briana P. (10)
Q: What does sisterhood mean to you?

A: Sisterhood in this school is really important simply because we get to understand each other, and know how different races and personalities fit together. It’s something pretty cool because we become friends and sisters, and that is really important especially for girls.

Briana P. (2)

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Shahar P.

Shahar P. | Class of 2017 | Engineering Pathway
+ Read about: Shahar P.
Shahar Pedahzur (3)
Q: How did you spend your summer?

A: I spent 7 weeks working at UT’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus. I’ve always been curious about engineering and what it really means to be an engineer, so I found this to be a great opportunity to see the research side. I spent my summer there so I could learn what I could do with an engineering degree.

Q: Which extra-curricular activities do you most enjoy?

A: I’m a member of Youth & Government and I enjoy it because I have always been interested in law. When I was very young I always wanted things to be fair, and when people would tell me, “Well, life’s not fair,” I would say that shouldn’t be how it is. There are definitely things that need to be changed, so having a voice and being able to use it in Youth & Government has been eye opening and I’m really grateful for that.

Shahar Pedahzur (1)
Shahar Pedahzur (4)
Q: What is the best thing about the Ann Richards School?

A: The best thing about the Ann Richards School is the close-knit community. I have never been so close to my teachers and I feel like I can ask them for anything. I have no problem going in at 8:00 in the morning, barging in and asking questions about homework or what I should be studying for. I definitely don’t think that’s something you get at any other school, and I’m really glad I came here just for that.

Shahar Pedahzur (7)

Learn more about the Ann Richards School Foundation

Learn more about the Ann Richards School Foundation