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Q&A: Senior Donna Williams-Martinez shares how she lives out the Core Value of responsibility

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 Donna Williams-Martinez, senior at DSST: Byers High School for exemplifying the DSST Core Value of responsibility. 

Donna’s college counselor and basketball coach, Monica Anderson said, “Donna has played three different sports, been on an international trip with Global Leadership, led in the Pep Committee, has her own small business and has taken the lead on her college application process. I am so proud of her for her growth and determination. I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes post-high school.”

Read our conversation with Donna on responsibility, balance and her future plans below. 

Q: What are your plans after high school?
A: I want to major in Criminology and Sociology and minor in Business. My top three schools right now are NYU, Cornell, and CSU Pueblo. After undergrad, I want to go to law school with the goal of starting my own law firm.

Q: What has your college application process been like?
A: I’m a first-generation student, so sometimes it’s hard to ask my parents for advice on college. But at DSST, you get started on researching schools really early. As I was researching, I asked myself, “Is this going to be a right fit for me? What about the cost? What school can offer the best opportunity for me to meet my goals?”

Q: Why do you think you were chosen to represent the DSST core value of responsibility?
A: I balance a lot. For example, during my senior year, I’m taking four AP classes and I participate in three sports - volleyball, basketball and step. On top of that, there’s applying to colleges and scholarships. I’ve learned to adjust to balance it all. 

Q: How do you think that skill of balancing priorities will help you in college?
A: It will definitely be different from high school. I won’t be playing sports in college, but in place of that, I’ll need to figure out transportation, bills, college fees and where to live. I’ll become more independent and responsible as I go through college. That starts with balance. 

Q: How has responsibility been encouraged at DSST: Byers?
A: Every time I walk into a classroom, I see the posters that list our DSST Core Values. It’s a reminder that it’s my responsibility to pay attention, learn and make sure I’m getting the education I need and want. 

Q: Who at DSST: Byers has supported you throughout your high school journey?
A: Ms. Anderson means so much to me. She’s my basketball coach; she’s my college counselor. She has pushed me to make the college decisions that are best for me.

Q: Describe the DSST: Byers Class of 2023. 
A: No offense, but we’re nerds. We might be quieter than other classes at pep rallies, but we’re ready for the future. We’re determined and competitive. We know we can make a difference in this world.