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Q&A: How Montview seniors live out the Core Value of Integrity

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: Montview seniors Seline Mesfin and Clara Medrano, who are both leaders of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at their school. 

Read our conversation on integrity, advocating for change and the worst pizza toppings below.

Q: (We overheard your icebreaker question for your ADL club meeting and think it’s awesome. So, we’re stealing it.) Share your name, pronouns, and the pizza topping that should be eliminated from Earth. 

Seline: She/her/hers. Pineapple. It simply does not deserve to be on pizza. It is too soggy, moist and has no place on the goodness of a classic slice of pizza.

Clara: She/they. Mushrooms. They’re fungus. Why are you putting fungus on perfectly good tomato sauce, cheese, and bread?

Q: What is ADL?

Seline: ADL is an organization that seeks to create unity and inclusion within schools. Often, the voices of many who deserve to be heard are overshadowed. We work to make sure that doesn’t happen. We want to foster kindness and unity in everything that we do, and that’s something that’s really important to me.

DSC_0302The DSST: Montview ADL club meets after school to discuss their current fundraiser and plan for their third annual Cultural Expedition, which will feature food, performances, games and clothing from cultures around the world.

Q: What does integrity mean to you? 

Seline: Integrity means being able to live one’s truth unapologetically, with pride and passion. It means being able to be who you want to be, and making a deep contribution to society in doing so. 

Clara: Well, I don’t know if I can top that. Ha! Integrity means knowing where you stand with your morals. It means being true to yourself and to the people around you. 

Q: Why do you think you were chosen to represent the core value of integrity?

Seline: I think ADL is a meaningful organization that always seeks integrity and truth. All of our members are willing to address the root causes of inequities and work for the change that we want to see in our school. We ask ourselves, “How can we be more honest with ourselves about how we can become better through unity and love?”

Clara: ADL unifies our school. It is such a big part of encouraging integrity at Montview. We’ve hosted Morning Meetings on the topics of gentrification, self-segregation and more. But, individually, we hold on to our morals. We fight for the change we want to see. 

35B795A0-10AF-4908-99AF-108C10990664DSST: Montview senior Seline Mesfin leads her peers in the chant “No More Silence, Stop Gun Violence” during the Students Demand Action National Gun Violence Walkout on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Q: What are your plans for next year?

Seline: I’m passionate about food, housing and health inequities. I’m going to major in Biology, maybe Biomedical Engineering, so I’ll be answering the question, “How can science inform change in our communities?” I will fuse my passion and purpose together to create a powerful impact. 

Clara: I’m going to CU Boulder! I want to keep fighting for equity in schools and communities. I’m really passionate about eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline. I want to major in Psychology and minor in Ethnic Studies. I believe that will help me fight for the equitable treatment of people of color. 

Q: Describe the DSST: Montview Class of 2023. 

Clara: Oh, good question. We have a lot of characters…Ha! We’re different from each other. Each one of us can inspire something in someone else. 

Seline: We’re spunky. There’s so much personality and flavor within our class. We’ve gone through so many hardships, including COVID and violence in schools. We didn’t expect to be handed these challenges but took them in stride. My peers show me how to find joy in my day-to-day life, and that’s something I will take with me into college and beyond.