But when she started her first year last month at Venice High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, she found that many of her classmates had not been so eager.
"People we don't know will sometimes sit and eat lunch with us," Cunningham said. "And it's kinda awkward to ask, 'Are you vaccinated?'"
Cunningham can interact with new classmates with more confidence now that the Los Angeles Unified school board voted Thursday to require all eligible students ages 12 and older to be vaccinated by Dec. 19.
"I'm pretty excited about it. I'm glad we're taking this step," she said. "I feel more comfortable hanging out with people who are vaccinated."
Los Angeles Unified is the first major school district in the nation to require vaccines for students. But the move from California's largest school district won't have an immediate ripple effect. While some California districts have already started considering a vaccine mandate for students, the conversation hasn't started at others.
"We have so many kids in our district," Cunningham said. "I think it's our job to make it safe to come to school."