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Founding school director, Kryszelda Mendoza, shares excitement about opening of Aurora Science & Tech High School

DSST Public Schools was thrilled to welcome the founding class of freshmen to Aurora Science and Tech High School.

We spoke with the founding School Director, Kryszelda Mendoza who shared some of her thoughts about what this school means to the students and her perspective on the new school.

Q: How was it to welcome freshmen into the school last week?
A: It was so energizing seeing all our students on the first day! I’ve been planning for this day since January, and it was surreal to see all my plans come to life. It has been so humbling to sit in the school director seat and serve our founding class of leaders.

Q: What does it mean to you to be leading this new high school as the school director?
A: AST high school is a school I’ve dreamed up since graduate school. The values and focus of the high school push boundaries on what is possible for our students in Aurora. The partnership with Anschutz Medical Center and UC Health allows us to do this on a whole new level. We are redefining what school looks like for our students, meaning that they are active in their own learning and their real-life exposure to opportunities in the medical field. Our goal is to build our students’ identities as STEM leaders in order to give them options for their future in any field they choose.

Q: What are you looking forward to this year or what do you hope to see from the ninth graders?
A: I am looking forward to all the opportunities we’ve got planned with AMC/UCHealth this year. We have a diverse set of experiences for our students that include a campus and hospital tour, interactive final exams run by AMC and UCHealth and Warp Week – where kids will take classes and have experiences on AMC’s campus instead of their regular high school classes. Our hope is these experiences are going to build their identity as young adults, and they begin to see themselves as scientists and/or medical professionals who will be on the AMC campus someday.

Q: What else do you want to share?
A: I am so excited about our staff team. We’ve worked hard to hire a team of teachers and staff that represent our students, and that is so impactful for our students to connect to the adults in this building.

We are so excited to see the Class of 2026 be the first to graduate as Owls. Click here to see more photos and highlights from the first week of school.