Austin grad to Harvard

By Karen Colbenson

Anthony Hernandez is going to Harvard.

Much to his own surprise, the 17-year-old Austin High School graduating senior was accepted in April to the private and very prestigious university located in Cambridge, Mass.

Being accepted to Harvard is just one item, albeit the biggest, on the list of accomplishments for Hernandez, who has earned a rare kind of academic success during high school, all while being actively involved in several different sports and club organizations.


Hernandez is a member of National Honor Society, has competed in Knowledge Bowl and earned a spot on the Students of High Distinction list with a graduating GPA of 3.9. As a 16-year-old, Hernandez made national headlines twice for placing in C-SPAN’s video documentary contest.

In June 2007, Hernandez was one of two male students in Minnesota chosen to go to Washington, D.C., to practice politics and mingle with President George W. Bush.

Despite those achievements and opportunities, Hernandez said applying to Harvard was just a shot in the dark.

On April 1, while checking his e-mail, Hernandez came across the acceptance letter.

"It’s hard to describe the feeling," said Hernandez. "I had to re-read the letter to make sure it was correct."

Just one day before, Hernandez had been accepted to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Hernandez, who had spent the first part of his life in California, called Stanford his "dream college."

But for Hernandez, Harvard was the "elusive goal."

Hernandez was one of 27,000 high school students who had applied to Harvard this year. He was one of 7 percent of applicants who received an acceptance letter.


"I’m just some kid who was lucky enough to be accepted," said Hernandez, who has chosen a concentration in politics.

When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, Hernandez said, "It’s not a question to answer as a 17-year-old, but I guess....I want to be in a job at some kind of a national level where people look at me and say, ‘Wow, he’s only 27.’ I just think about how many doors Harvard will open and how many cool people you get to meet there. It is just as big a part of the experience as what you do in the classroom there."

Still, Hernandez said he will miss Austin, especially his friends and family.

"It’s the people that have made high school for me," said Hernandez. "Some of the teachers...I’m just going to miss having the great group of friends that I had here. It really is the people. I am going to miss Austin, but I’m also looking forward to moving beyond what I learned here -- in a good way."

For more information, go to

Austin High School

Harvard University

Austin High School Graduation


7 p.m. today

Riverside Arena

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Caitlin and Jason Keck’s two-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation committee begins next month.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met on Jan. 5, 2023, to consider the application for Summit Carbon Solutions.
Qualified Minnesota farmers will receive dollar-for-dollar matching money to purchase farmland.