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Blossoming at DSST: Green Valley Ranch

Eyeruse Kifle (DSST: Green Valley Ranch ‘24) has always excelled academically—her 4.5 GPA speaks for itself—but she was a shy middle schooler. Well, in her words, “really shy.” Talking to someone new was barely possible. But then, DSST: Green Valley Ranch Middle School presented the opportunity to join the theater club and drum line.

Eyeruse Kifle's 8th grade photo

Eyeruse Kifle's 8th grade photo

“The school is focused on science and technology, but they help you explore other interests as well,” said Kifle. “Theater and drumline helped me meet people who were more extroverted, and boosted my communication skills.”

Once she entered high school, other out-of-classroom activities—Black Student Alliance (BSA), Robotics, and her Code2College internship—helped her make connections, build a passion for leadership, and inspire her future field of study. 

“As the president of BSA, I discovered a passion for bringing people together,” said Kifle. “I worked with home office to establish what Black African Youth Excellence is, and I planned events – like career fairs and trips – to help students like me who were struggling with networking create opportunities for them to build a community.”

Meanwhile, robotics club and Code2College shaped her interest in coding and computer science. Kifle plans to major in Computer Science at the University of Denver or Colorado School of Mines.

In addition to extracurriculars, Kifle attributes her preparation for college and career to challenging high school academics, which she holds an expectation to continue at the university level. 

Kifle shared that she is proud of herself for her “academic persistence through challenges…by making connections with teachers and by prioritizing academics.” 

While many of her high school courses were challenging, Kifle says her most “college-like” class was Philosophy. It was taught by Mr. Waldeck, who was previously a college professor before joining the DSST team. 

“Getting the experience with an actual college professor gives you a look at what it’s like to be in that learning environment,” said Kifle. 

Beyond programmed offerings at her school, Kifle is thankful for supportive teachers, peers, and family members who have encouraged her on her path to college. 

“My family means a lot to me,” said Kifle. “My parents worked so hard to get me and my siblings to where we are now. I wouldn't be where I am today without their sacrifices, endless support and love. They encourage me to do my best every day.”

As the oldest child, she is especially hopeful that her younger siblings (who attend or plan to attend DSST: GVR) will have similar experiences to her. 

“I really hope that the opportunities I’ve had at DSST: GVR also continue for them,” said Kifle. “I know a lot of students at other schools don’t get this. Having these opportunities is a great thing that I hope they can get as well.”