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Mount senior set sights on Air Force Academy

Elizabeth Hunter credits MSM’s rigors for military prep

Published: May 30, 2024   
Elizabeth Hunter, 18, stands inside the chapel at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock. This summer, she’ll begin studying at the U.S. Air Force Academy. (Katie Zakrzewski)

There isn’t much that Elizabeth Hunter doesn’t do. 

The senior at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock is involved in her school, church and community. 

In addition to being in the top five graduating seniors, Hunter is an active member of the Rockettes dance team, Belle Ambassadors, Chess Club, Book Club, College Coordinators Club and National Honor Society. She has also helped plan retreats and events for her class and MSM and is one of the student tour leaders for open house days. 

“I'm an extremely involved person. I love Mount with my whole heart,” Hunter said. “And that's what makes it so bittersweet right now — leaving — because I poured I feel like my heart and soul into the school. And not just because it's good for me getting into college, my career — but I truly cared.”

She is active in the youth program at her church, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Little Rock.

“I think my faith has been the factor that has gotten me through high school most of my life,” Hunter said. “Because I would not be able to do this without knowing that there is someone who always loves me, who always cares about me. At the end of the day, I can turn to God and know that he has given me the strength and ability to accomplish so many insane tasks that I can't even remember all of them right now.”

Hunter will be leaving June 22 to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy with the goal of becoming a pilot. Hunter isn’t the first in her family to pursue this ambitious goal — her father, Mark, is a retired Air Force pilot and currently serves as a C-130J instructor pilot at the Little Rock Air Force Base.

Hunter laughs as she explains she was always destined for a military academy, given her strict personal regimen, the hard work she put in at Mount and her love of uniforms. But even more compelling is Hunter’s heart for service. 

“I want to do all the things I do,” Hunter said. “So when the time came, and I was like, ‘Do I want to be a dentist? Do I want to go into education? Do I want to be a zoologist?’ … I realized that service was the answer. And it had always been with me in the image of my dad and family members. … And it's just that those people have inspired me to be that way.”

For Hunter, it was encouragement — not pressure — that led her to flourish. 

“Motivation comes in many forms. And my parents, they've always said, ‘We don't care what you do. You could go to McDonald's and flip burgers, but you better be the best burger flipper,’” Hunter said with a laugh. “And so it's not the pressure, it's the encouragement. I think it’s that encouragement from my parents and … who I aspire to be. That means people in my church, people in the media who I highly respect, my teachers who obviously have a passion for what they do or they would not be here. Those are the people who have like shown me that my work is worth it.”

Bishop Taylor wants you to know more about your faith and the Church: Read Arkansas Catholic's free digital edition.

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