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Self-expression and healing through art: A young artist thrives at DSST: College View

When Cesia Tomita (DSST: College View ‘24) walked into middle school for the first time, she could immediately feel the close-knit community at DSST: College View. 

“I had a lot of support from my teachers in middle school,” said Tomita.


In fact, Tomita named one of those middle school teachers as the first person who noticed her art. When Tomita doodled on her science worksheets, Ms. Pochette encouraged it rather than scolding her. 

“Ms. Pochette helped me realize that I was a really good artist,” said Tomita. “She would always push me to show my artwork… She would show it to other teachers.”

As Tomita continued into high school at DSST: College View, the encouragement from teachers continued.

Tomita says Mr. Ferrer (College Counselor) and Ms. Rice (Art Teacher) pushed her to be her best and apply for art-based programs and internships. 

One of the most meaningful opportunities for Tomita was an internship at ArtLab, a program for Denver teens that pairs “professional artists with youth in a series of creative and social justice workshops.”

“At ArtLab, I have had opportunities to meet other artists, showcase my own art, learn about scholarships and art colleges, as well as have access to a food pantry and mental health support,” said Tomita. 

For Tomita, one of the most important things she learned through ArtLab and practicing creativity in general is “it’s all about you finding yourself as a person and being able to grow freely.”

Tomita frequently uses art as a method for self-expression and healing. Throughout middle and high school, there have been hard situations Tomita has had to work through, including her mother’s cancer diagnosis and her father’s illness, which then affected family finances and capacity for academic work. 


In the image above, Tomita shows a piece of art titled Emotions, which she created during a time when she especially needed an outlet for healing.

“I was processing my emotions,” she said. “I was going through something that I really wanted to talk about but couldn’t express it in words. It’s a simple sketch, but for me it has significance.” 

Now, Tomita is just a couple months away from starting her post-secondary education at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) and with the goal of graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. 


Ten years from now, Tomita plans to be a fashion designer with her own brand of clothes designed specifically for people with cancer. 

“For many cancer patients, it’s hard to wear just any type of clothes. Certain fabrics can hurt their skin,” said Tomita. “People are looking for support and to feel confident. My dream is to make people feel confident.”

As for her wish for DSST: College View, Tomita says she hopes “we continue to be a great community that sees each student’s needs, being able to help them grow into what they thought they couldn’t, and helping them to reach their dreams.”