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Home for the Holidays: Amanda Acevedo Acevedo proves that college is not the only way to be successful after high school

This winter, The Rebellion has started a new article series where reporters catch up with WHS alumni who are home for the holidays. For any alumni interested in being featured, email donovang18@wpsma.org.

For the majority of Walpole High School graduates, college is the traditional path most alumni choose to follow; however, class of 2016 graduate, Amanda Acevedo has proven that it is not the only option. Now a manager at Brandy Melville, Acevedo tests the limits of the "one-size-fits-all" expectations of high school graduates.

Post-graduation, Acevedo enrolled in Bay State College planning to major in nutrition. During her first semester, Acevedo wanted to leave but ended up staying for the second semester to complete the year—this time choosing to commute from home. After finishing her freshman year, she decided to re-evaluate.

“I just did not feel like it was my thing—school never really was,” she said. “I am actually taking the year off, and I am now a manager at Brandy Melville on Newbury Street. I will probably go back to school within the next year or two, but I do want to get some traveling done before that.”

Acevedo celebrates after hiking over 1000 steps to the top of the Koko Head Crater Trail during her trip to Hawaii this past summer. Photo/amanda_acevedo on Instagram.

With big plans to travel as far as Australia and New Zealand, Acevedo is in no rush to get back to school. Her current job at Brandy Melville consumes most of her time, and it has allowed her to explore different parts of herself.

“Being at school I was very sheltered. Working here has allowed me to meet so many new people—especially very creative people,” said Acevedo.

“Through my connections at work, I have been able to shoot with a lot of photographers and artists, which has opened me up to things that I was never really comfortable with.”
Acevedo poses for test shots in first-ever photo shoot to build up her portfolio. Photo/Levante Anderson
Acevedo is photographed laughing in a more candid image. Photo/Levante Anderson

Posting photos from those shoots and even ones of her own online, Acevedo has cultivated her own brand through social media. With different agencies reaching out to her, Acevedo has found herself with many new opportunities as she builds deeper connections in the modeling industry.

“I have definitely learned how to step out of my comfort zone, which for me is the most important 'life-experience’ you can get,” she said.

For a more artistic shot, Acevedo is captured mid hair flip as the sunlight reflects off her face. Photo/Levante Anderson

During her time away from college Acevedo has indulged in new passions that have influenced the path she is looking to follow into her adult life.

“I like that I am working with something that I could possibly pursue in the future," she said, "I am definitely looking more towards sales and marketing when I do go back to school.”

In addition to sales, Acevedo is looking to study digital marketing when she returns to school in hopes of potentially becoming a social media strategist—a career she may have never stumbled upon if she had not taken her time off.

Although she is no longer looking to major in nutrition, it remains something that has largely shaped the person she is today. In June of 2016, Acevedo started preparation for the National Physique Committee (NPC) Bikini Competition.

Acevedo poses with celebratory cupcake and trophy backstage at NPC Bikini Competition (Jay Cutler Classic). Photo/courtesy of Acevedo

“I was always really into fitness growing up, but I began to take it more seriously towards the end of my senior year,” Acevedo said. “I competed in my first show in April of 2017, which was really fun. It was a great experience, and I was going to do another one this upcoming spring, but I recently decided not to because I realized that I am just not as passionate about it anymore."

"I was not going to force myself to do something that I did not love.”

Nonetheless, her passion for working out remains unwavered. She starts everyday by going to yoga and always finds the time to head to the gym even after a long day at work.

“I still love to work out—I love lifting. My competition is always going to be something that was completely life changing to me," said Acevedo.

Before and after of Acevedo's fitness journey: pictured left in June of 2016 and right in March of 2017. Photo/courtesy of Acevedo

Placing fourth in the Jay Cutler Classic, Acevedo admitted that her competition helped her find the good in food rather than being afraid of it—a deep realization she came to upon testing the limits of her body.

At just 20 years old, Acevedo has learned possibly one of the most important life lessons: do what makes you happy. She has proven that it does not matter what it is—from school to weightlifting—if you are not passionate about it, then why waste your time.

“Working at Brandy—even though it is only retail—has taught me a lot about responsibility. I just want high schoolers to know that you do not need to go to college to grow and be responsible. It is not the best path for everyone.”

Even though the clothes at Brandy Melville may run by the “one-size-fits-all” rule, Amanda Acevedo is living proof that life after high school is not. College is not in everyone's future—and that is okay. Acevedo has discovered other ways, that stray from the conventional education route, to make something out of her life, but most importantly she has repeatedly demonstrated that she is not afraid to stand up for her own happiness—even if it means making an unpopular decision.

Created By
Grace Donovan
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all photos courtesy of Amanda Acevedo

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