To Andrew Hunter, actually saying that he graduated high school still is weird.
“It still really hasn’t hit yet,” Hunter said. “It’s just happening so fast because it does feel like yesterday I was just a little 6-year-old kid going to Windermere Prep for the first time.”
Hunter began school at Windermere Preparatory School in 2006. He was an IB diploma candidate, captain of both the soccer and lacrosse teams — both of which he played varsity all four years — MVP in lacrosse and recipient of the 2019 Windermere Preparatory School Academic Athlete of the Year while in the top 10 of the Class of 2019.
On top of his awards for both sports and athletics, Hunter was also named a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation honors academic achievements of high school students each year in the U.S. While not named a National Merit Scholar, Hunter became a finalist, an honor he shares with only 15,000 other high-schoolers in the country.
“It was really cool to have an honor I know some great kids before me have had, and also great kids around the country were also being considered for it,” Hunter said.
Reflecting on his time in school, with all of the responsibility and challenges, Hunter described it as a balancing act. In addition to sports and academics, Hunter also was an editor of the school’s yearbook and for a final project, he raised more than $2,000 for Cystic Fibrosis research.
He said the academics at Windermere Prep were difficult, but he always made a point to try to not get too weighed down by the responsibilities.
Luckily, his school was supportive and his friends were there for him, and going through the same thing, he said. Throughout the years, Windermere Prep became like his second home.
“Everyone there is super supportive; it’s not like a competition between people,” said Hunter. “Everybody helps everybody there grow.”
Hunter said he’ll miss his friends, teachers, coaches and the community around the school more than anything.
Jacob Doss, athletic director at Windermere Preparatory School, had high praise for Hunter. He said the school will miss his leadership both on and off the field.
“Andrew was the epitome of what a student athlete at Windermere Prep should strive to be,” Doss said.
Now with graduation in the past, Hunter is looking to the future. In the fall, he plans on attending the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He is looking forward to exploring a few different programs before settling on one field of study.
“We’ve been supportive of our boys not necessarily having to know exactly what they’re going to be or what they’re going to do and going to a place where they’re going to explore lots of different things,” Michele Hunter, Andrew’s mother, said. “He’s a really well-rounded student (and) did well in everything. So, he just has to find what he’s passionate about.”
Hunter knows a few people in the area, but for the most part, come fall, he’ll be starting over in a new state. Having visited the campus, Hunter said he felt at home right away. As a bonus, sports have a lot to do with campus culture. And though Hunter doesn’t plan on playing soccer or lacrosse beyond clubs or intramurals, he still plans on being involved and playing when he can.
Visiting in March, Hunter and his parents experienced the campus right at peak basketball season as the school’s team had just progressed into the final four of NCAA March Madness, which they ultimately won. His mother even met one of the players on campus.
“It’s a great school, and I’m humbled to be able to go there,” Hunter said.
There still are a few months before orientation, and with the future ahead of him, Hunter seems to be taking it one step at at time. At the moment, he’s getting ready for a summer of traveling with family and friends before he starts his next phase of life in the fall.