UT Online High School collaborates with AESA Prep Academy


The Academic Excellence for the Student Athlete (AESA) Prep Academy located in southwest Austin caters to high school students pursuing a career in tennis. These highly motivated students are hoping their athleticism will lead to a college scholarship where they can play tennis at the college level and maybe one day “go pro.” These goals require a great deal of high-level training and practice. AESA was founded to provide the services and athletic facilities these students need, going far beyond what is offered at a typical high school.

At AESA, these students pursue their athletic goals while also earning high school credit through the UT Online High School (UTHS), a component of Continuing and Innovative Education’s K-16 Education Center. Fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the UTHS was authorized by the Texas State Board of Education in 1998 to provide distance learners with a high school curriculum and to award diplomas. The program currently offers more than 48 online courses in English, social studies, mathematics, science, foreign languages, health, computer applications, physical education, economics and electives.

In 2010, AESA entered into an agreement with the UTHS to offer an accredited online high school to their student body. “The mission of the AESA Prep Academy is to prepare our students to be the best they can be—whether that’s on the tennis court or wherever life takes them,” said Barbara Garza, founder and principal of AESA. “We partnered with the UT Online High School because we wanted to incorporate a rigorous curriculum that would stand on its own, in addition to the sports training our students receive. It’s important that our students be well-rounded, explore all of their intellectual interests, and be fully ready for college coursework. With a curriculum like the one we receive from UTHS, I am confident that our students can pursue all of the educational options that are open to them and be ready for college and for life."

For Garza, one of the best aspects of the UTHS is the flexibility it offers students. “My son Adrian is a student at AESA. He’s working to get a scholarship to college and then try his hand at going pro,” she said. “On the first day of school this year, Adrian suffered a stroke, which obviously at age 17 is very rare. It interrupted his studies for about six weeks, but he recovered and got back in the schoolroom and back on the tennis court. Had he been in a traditional school, he would have had to leave school and possibly be out for the entire year. With UTHS, he was able to get back on track with his studies in his own time. He had to work hard, but he didn’t lose any time with his academics or his athletic training."

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