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Q&A: CG Seniors leading the Black Student Alliance share how they live out the Core Value of Doing Your Best

As we prepare to celebrate the DSST Class of 2023 at Senior Signing Day on April 27, we are featuring how this senior class lives out the six DSST Core Values (Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Courage, Curiosity, and Doing Your Best) at school and beyond.

We are excited to feature DSST: Conservatory Green Black Student Alliance (BSA) senior leaders: Talile Abubakar, Gift Faleru, Amaiah Hurd, Miriam Kangethe, Lexi Leverett and Michael Oppong-Kakyire.

Sophonias Paulos, the BSA advisor, is incredibly proud of these seniors and all they have accomplished this year.

“One of BSA's biggest achievements this year was being able to organize a series of educational events and trips to further learn about Black Culture and the overall Black experience in the U.S.,” said Paulos. “This was possible due to our exceptional senior BSA leaders, especially our BSA president Lexi Leverett … who has dedicated herself to empowering and uplifting her fellow students of color here at DSST: CG High School.”

Read our conversation with these CGHS seniors on how they did their best to build a second home within their school community!


Question: Tell us about the DSST: Conservatory Green Class of 2023. 

All: Oh, we’re the best class, EVER!

Michael: I feel like the class of 2023 is a tight-knit community. Most events are run by students- it’s the student council, BSA, La Raza, and other student groups that put on spirit weeks and events. We all look out for each other and contribute to the school spirit.

Miriam: We’re the class that has the most spirit. Plus, We’ve all known each other since middle school.


Q: Why do you think you were chosen to represent the DSST core value of DYB, as a group?

Michael: We worked really hard to revive BSA. We worked on our events and on getting more of our student body involved in Black history and Black events. I feel like that kind of exemplifies us “doing our best” because we did our best with BSA to try and make it what it is now.


Q: Tell us about what it was like reviving the BSA, and who supported this process?

Lexi: I've been in BSA since 10th grade. That was when it was quarantine, so we had it online and there were, like, five people max. Last year I was the president, and I'm the president this year, so that process was making sure to encourage everyone to come back and spread our culture and make sure not only where we engaged, but also our community engaged together.

Michael: Paulos and Hysaw worked really hard. Paulos was always talking to admin about our budgeting, what field trips we can take and what we can do on specific days. The same thing for Hysaw … they just put in a lot of effort on top of all the stuff that they have to do as teachers.

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Q: Why is it important to have a BSA in high school and specifically at DSST: Conservatory Green? 

Amaiah: We talked a lot about current events, and then we gave people the opportunity to explore. I think it's important because it just gives people a community.

Gift: I also feel like it's very important because though our classes are diverse, BSA is like a second home. It’s a place you can feel safe.


Q: What is your favorite memory from your time in BSA?


Michael: We did a raffle fundraiser for the whole school, and the first 20-30 people got to go see the Black Panther premiere with BSA members when it first came out in a private theater.


Q: How does a BSA at CG benefit not just Black students, but the whole student community? How is that helpful?

Lexi: It benefits not only just students of color but the whole community because we talk about topics like stereotypes and it’s informative to the community. If they don’t know about something, there is space to learn.

Michael: Although BSA is marketed as “Black Student Alliance,” we have people of different ethnicities and races in the group. 

Talile: We also work with other groups like La Raza Unida. It was fun to work together.

Gift: I want to give a special shout-out to Ms. Medrano. She’s the advisor for La Raza at our school and really pushes us to collab with La Raza. She makes sure they are at BSA meetings and that we are always at their meetings.


Q: What is your vision for BSA here at CG after graduation?

Talile: I really hope they are consistent in the same way we were. We actually communicated with teachers (namely Hysaw and Paulos) and that is what made our events really successful.

Amaiah: I just hope there is more student involvement, I want more attendance.

Miriam: I want it to carry on. I don't want upcoming students to lose hope because the current leadership team graduates.


Q: Do you have advice for people interested in joining?

Gift: I know somebody at a different school scared to join their BSA. However, once you get over the initial anxiety and nerves to join, you actually gain that second home and second family. It’s really worth it in the end, even if you are scared to join at first.


Q: Are you thinking about joining similar student-led organizations in college? Why?

All: Yes, for sure. 

Miriam: I think it’s good to have a community, that second home, even in college- a new space to have people you feel comfortable talking to.

Michael: I thought BSA was a good experience throughout high school. Having people that you could meet up with at least once a week, talk to and share your experiences. And then more specifically for me, going to PWI (predominantly white university), I feel like joining a BSA at Boulder would be nice because then I see people who look like me and that I could interact with and build friendships.

Tune in to Senior Signing Day on April 27 to hear these and all other DSST seniors announce their postsecondary plans!