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Zia Ahmadi is a senior at DSST: Green Valley Ranch and has applied to USC, the University of Denver and Colorado School of Mines. Here are a few thoughts and reflections as he prepares for graduating from DSST and going to college.

The thing I’m most proud of during my time at DSST is my dedication to preparing for the SAT. Although my grades weren’t where I wanted them to be at the start of my junior year, I decided it was time to change. I strived to prepare for the SAT as best as I could, dedicating hundreds of hours. In the end, I got the exact score that I wanted and it helped me realize I could attain my goals if I simply put in the work.

The person that influenced me the most while at DSST is Mrs. Perry. She pushed me to grow not only as a student, but as an individual. In addition to this, I can point to my success in junior year to her as she made me realize that enough was enough. If I wanted to fulfill my goals in high school, I would need to make changes fast. Although I didn’t have her as a teacher in junior year, she acted as a mentor giving me the necessary tools to succeed both inside and outside the classroom.

The advice I’d give to underclassmen is that no matter where you are now, you can still improve. If you feel like you have dug yourself into a hole that you can’t get out from, you’re wrong. You can always change your habits and find the right networks to put yourself in a more favorable position. However, if you think you’re already at the top, you can still keep growing. There is no reason to limit yourself.

I’m going to miss the relationships that I created the most. The bonds and relationships with students and teachers alike will forever leave an impact on me. I can, without a doubt, say that it enhanced my experience at DSST and made it that much better.

In five years, I see myself graduating with a Master’s in Computer Science, ready to tackle the world and all the challenges that come with it. I hope to leave college knowing that I am capable of making my education a tool to cultivate my success.

Going to college matters to me because it will provide me the education necessary to start giving back to my parents for all the sacrifices they made to get me here. Traveling thousands of miles from home to provide their children a better opportunity, my parents made the ultimate sacrifice. Thus, I would like to use their gift of education to me to give back to them by using it well.

I feel proud of myself because of the challenges that I had to overcome to get to this stage. From failing mastery checks to studying endless hours for the SAT, it has truly been a journey. However, I never let myself falter throughout the process, and because of that, I am proud of myself.

I feel proud of my class and my school because we did it together. Every day, students would come together to study for upcoming formatives and summatives because it would ensure mutually assured success. We were there for each other from the start to the finish, and I couldn’t be prouder of the class of 2018 as a result of that.