The students and staff at Independence High School had a surprise on Friday, September 13 during the morning announcements. Former student and current UNCC football standout Austin Duke returned to the Big-I’s morning news broadcast to share some information about his post-secondary educational experiences as well as his role in UNCC’s inaugural football season.
“It’s a great time to be a Niner!” says Duke, who is studying business and marketing, and planning a career as a sports agent.
Duke appeared on the school’s morning news show to promote UNCC as a possibility for this year’s high school seniors. The university will have representatives on campus in the coming weeks and they are anxious to promote a different kind of campus than most students are familiar with.
“UNCC used to be a commuter school,” says Duke on air. “This is a different time, a time to make history.”
For most of the university’s history, the campus all but emptied out on weekends. Now Duke says students are sticking around, gathering on Friday evenings and tailgating before the games. The atmosphere has completely changed.
Off camera, Duke remembers his high school days and is glad his Independence family prepared him for the demands of college. Duke says the rigorous senior exit project helped prepare him for college research and writing, but that’s not the most important thing he learned at Independence.
“Ms. Buttcher, Ms. Owings, Ms. Schumacher╔really all the teachers in AIS (Academy of International Studies) helped me prepare for the real world,” says Duke. “They cared about my success, helped me stay grounded and reminded me to be true to who you are. That’s really what it’s all about, knowing your purpose, be who you are and be that every day./’