Salinas High School
“I’m excited to see where I can go on my own.”
It is the summer before senior year Destynee has a part-time job at One Stop Career Center, where she helps other young people find jobs.
When we meet Destynee it is the summer before her senior year of high school. She has a part-time job at One Stop Career Center where she helps her peers to find summer employment. At the end of the last school year she has just been re-elected president of her school’s Postpone club, where she has been a member since her sophomore year. Destynee feels self-confident and self-assured. She says as club president, it is her responsibility to be a role model for other girls. Though she believes Postpone has helped to shape her leadership style, Destynee considers herself to be a born leader.
I was always the one who would say the things no one thought they could say. If we were planning something or organizing something and suggesting ideas — if I didn’t like something I was going to say it. If I thought there was a better way to do something, I was going to say it.
While Destynee is confident and capable when instructing and leading others, she is still learning to acknowledge her own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. She joined Postpone with the objective of helping others, but in an interview she says the program also helped her to recognize and leave an emotionally abusive relationship.
I’ve always been the kind of person who’s like ‘I’m not going to take anything from anyone.’ I realized that I was going through the cycle of abuse. [The program] helped me to realize that ‘I’m sorry,’ is not always enough. [The Program] gave me a lot of confidence in myself knowing that it’s okay to say ‘No.’
Destynee has excelled as a leader in Postpone. She has spoken at the Women’s Fund luncheon, been a media spokesperson on behalf of GHGH and, most recently, delivered the Resolution on Social and Emotional Health to the Board of Supervisors.
In Destynee’s final interview there is an air of uncertainty. For the first time she talks about her worries and fears. She is approaching her last day of high school and her last summer in Salinas. Destynee’s mother has long supported Destynee’s dreams of attending a four-year university and she has held Destynee’s hand every step of her academic career. Now as college approaches and the reality of becoming the first in her family to go to college becomes more real, Destynee says, “I [think] this is the first time, that [my mother] can’t help me, and that is scary.”
While beginning a new phase of her life without the safety net of her social and family network is daunting, Destynee anticipates that she will grow as a leader because of it.
It’s a lot easier for me here [Salinas] to kind of squeeze myself in somewhere. Like with the health department. It’s because someone knew me so they could say ‘she would be a good candidate for this position.’ Out there [in college] I’m not going to have that. I’m kind of excited to see where I can go on my own.