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DSST alumna: 'DSST gave me the quality education that I don't think would have been accessible to me'

“It’s hard to imagine where I would be without DSST,” Aileen Ocampo, DSST: Green Valley Ranch 2016 graduate, said looking back at her time at DSST. 

Ocampo started school at DSST when she was 11 years old. Ocampo is a first-generation Mexican-American, and DSST gave her some opportunities she may not have otherwise had. 

“It was so helpful to have resources available to me that would not have been feasible otherwise,” Ocampo said. “It gave me the advantage of providing me the quality education that I don't think would have been accessible to me (and many others in the community).”

She and her mom were both excited about the chance to attend a school that would academically prepare Aileen for college and ultimately give her a foundation to be successful later on in life.

During her time at DSST, Ocampo said she learned “valuable skills of delayed gratification and learning to work through challenges.”

“It was the first time that I was in an environment where simply completing the tasked work was not sufficient,” Ocampo said. “It wasn't until I had the support of my teachers who believed in me that I decided to push myself and see how capable I was.”

It is because of the support of her teachers that Ocampo wants other students to “take advantage of the close-knit community. If you are struggling, it is okay to ask for help.”

Ocampo said she learned many skills that are “fundamental in understanding higher-level concepts in the real world without the assistance of the teachers.”

However, it is because of the continued support of her teachers that Ocampo says she has been able to learn and grow in those skills. 

“I stayed close to a few teachers after high school,” Ocampo said. “When I needed help, I had their support.”

Ocampo is currently attending Regis University, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in computer science.