Student who overcame trials of youth to speak at AC’s Fall Commencement

When Rylee Moore enrolled at Amarillo College she had every intention of peeling away the veneer of her self-imposed obscurity, of stepping out of her reclusive “comfort zone.” It’s clear today that she definitely walked the walk.

The emancipating strides she employed, in fact, have proven to be intercontinentally momentous – every bit literally as figuratively.

An orphan once victimized by an unstable adoptive family, Moore persevered through an uncertain childhood and a transient high school experience. Moreover, upon her arrival at AC she ascended swiftly, darting from hermit to editor of the student newspaper; from homebody to Presidential Scholar, a group with whom she visited South Africa; and from orphan, when she had no say in her immediate future, to student speaker at her own College graduation.

Moore will not only serve as speaker for the Fall Commencement ceremony, she will be one of 943 AC summer and fall graduates who are eligible to receive diplomas on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Amarillo Civic Center.

The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center Coliseum and will be live-steamed and available for repeat viewings at

“In high school I was anonymous and kept to myself,” said Moore, a 2021 graduate of Randall High School. “I’m not from the best family situation and I moved a lot. When I came to Amarillo College I wanted a whole different experience. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to make a new path that was totally different, and I came in determined to try everything.

“I’m so honored to be chosen to speak at graduation because I really found my community of support here at AC,” she said. “I’m leaving this College not just with a degree, but with a family.”

Moore, who was put up for adoption as a baby, says she was returned to her biological mother at age 10 when Child Protective Services determined that her adoptive home was drug-infested and guilty of child neglect. Fortunately, she has made amends with most of her original adoptive family – they are on excellent terms today – but back then she bounced around among various living situations. Yet even though she withdrew socially and became reclusive, she never lost her curiosity or her drive to learn.

Resolving to become involved in the College scene, she attended a meeting of AC’s student newspaper during her first semester and just like that she became a mass communications major and a page editor for The Ranger. Two semesters later she was named editor in chief and went on to capture third place for Breaking News at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s award ceremony.

She also became president of Sigma Kappa Delta, the English honor society, joined AC’s Blue Blazers, a small contingent of student ambassadors who assist with College recruitment and community relations, gained membership into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and toured South Africa with the Presidential Scholars.

“Traveling to Africa showed me not only how big the world is but how similar the human experience is,” Moore said.

Moore’s next stop will be at West Texas A&M University, where her focus will shift to pursuit of a degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. From there she hopes one day to earn a doctoral degree in forensic psychology.

“I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do,” Moore said. “I’d like to make the world a better place by delving into the criminal part of psychology.”

At Commencement, Moore says she looks forward to sharing her thoughts about the future with her fellow graduates.

“I want to express how it is you who gets to decide your future,” she said. “You get to create the journey that you take.”

Although Moore is transferring her credits to West Texas A&M and will begin commuting to Canyon in 2024, she is not pulling up stakes completely at AC. She just started working part time at AskAC, the Amarillo College call center designed to streamline the enrollment process for prospective students.

Dec 5, 23