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At DSST, we celebrate our seniors like athletes. On May 2nd, we'll bring together every DSST student and staff member to the Denver Coliseum and cheer as each senior announces their next steps in college and career. We'll also have proud parents and community leaders joining us to show our support for graduating seniors as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

Now, as we begin the count down to DSST's 2nd annual Senior Signing Day, we want to shed light on DSST seniors who exemplify our core values. First up is McKayla Nettles, a senior at DSST: GVR High School. Here's what she had to say...

  • "The person who has influenced me the most while at DSST was Ms. Juchno. She is the most kind-hearted, selfless, and giving person I have ever met. She is the only teacher I’ve known that walks around the classroom every day and asks each and every one of her students how they are doing. I had the pleasure of having Ms. Juchno as an advisor for two years and a teacher for one. I went through a really rough patch my senior year when my friends were not there for me, and I had no clue who to turn to. Ms. Juchno was there for me, and that day we sat outside at a table and talked for over an hour. I told her my story and she had nothing but positive advice to give me. She boosted my confidence and told me that I brighten her day when I crack jokes and when I am just being myself at school. I told her that I look up to her, because I strive to be just as sympathetic as her. I also told her that I wished that she was my age because I wanted her to be the friend I never had. She replied, “Well, when you graduate, we can be friends.” And that made me so happy. I am pretty sure that Ms. Juchno knows more about me than I know about myself because that is how well she listens and how much she cares. Ms. Juchno is more than just a teacher to me, she is a best friend. We crack jokes together, make fun of each other, share laughs, tell stories, and I could not be more thankful for her. Through these two years, she has taught me that it is OK to not be OK sometimes and to always stay true to myself. Ms. Juchno is a teacher that I will never forget, and I thank her for changing my life in such a positive way."
  • "The advice I’d give to underclassmen is: Make the years count. My father did not hesitate to always tell me, 'This is YOUR high school experience.' These were just a few of my father’s wise words that I've held close to me during high school. Whenever my dad tells me that, he'd also tell me to not worry about what other people are doing because they are making their memories and you should make yours. The more you put yourself out there, the more doors will open, the more chances you will have to knock on opportunity before opportunity even has a chance to walk up to you and introduce itself. It is always good to keep your studies first, but it also never hurts to go out and have some fun with a few friends. But in all, just remember this is YOUR high school experience. You only get one, so make it the best!"
  • "I feel proud of myself because through all of my five (yes, five) years in high school, I overcame so many obstacles in my life and in school. As a freshman coming from a different middle school, I went through a dramatic change. I was already at a disadvantage compared to most of my classmates because they attended (DSST: Green Valley Ranch Middle School) and already knew how the school worked. As for me, I had no exposure to the DSST community, therefore, I treated it as I did middle school: I didn’t do my work, goofed off in class, and often sat in the office. As a result, I ended up repeating my freshman year. That was the biggest wake up call for me. I knew I had to buckle down and get my act together if I wanted to make it through high school. Although I worked harder the next year, that wasn’t enough. I still failed two classes overall and had summer school sophomore year. On the first day of my junior year, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from getting what you want.” And I listened to myself. I passed all of my courses, with no summer school, in what is said to be the hardest year at DSST. Before I knew it, I was a senior, and I was nervous, but I didn’t let those nerves stop me. While I did go through a few rough patches in the middle of the year, I managed to keep my grades to a point where I did not have remediation. I also managed to create and teach my very own finance elective during trimester 3. I know my hard work will pay off when I walk across that stage and receive my diploma. I will always be proud of myself for how well I marched through high school, even through the roughest of storms."

#TwoClapsOnTwo to McKayla and the rest of the Class of 2018! We are excited to continue our #SeniorSpotlight in the weeks to come.