Terry Acena, who attended Highline College from 1963-65 and currently principal of Hamilton Middle School in Seattle, is this year's recipient for the 2000 Distinguished Alumni Award. He has been employed with the Seattle School District for the past 30 years, 22 years as an administrator. Acena has been instrumental in the current restructuring program of the school district which is revising traditional approaches to delivery of education curriculum. At Hamilton, Acena is establishing an emphasis on international and culture aspects of teaching and learning.
"Nurturing and guiding students so they can be successful in life is why I entered the teaching profession," he has emphasized. "Being part of their development as they grow so our world can be a better place to live, is my reward."
In 1963, Acena attended Highline when it was temporarily located on the Glacier High School site in Burien and was one of 2,758 students attending the first classes offered on this campus, September 28, 1964.
He credits Highline's quality programs and caring instructors for allowing him to establish a solid foundation upon which his subsequent academic and professional successes became a reality. While at HCC, he was instrumental in providing Highline with its first winning basketball team. He has gone on to coach various sports at many levels.
After Highline, Acena attended Seattle University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education; and Masters of Arts in School Administration.