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Destinee Byrd

Class of 2019

To have the perseverance to continue to strive for something, even after being told no, shows someone’s character – our newest Face of RB definitely understands what it means to never give up. Destinee ’19, has been a hardworking student for the past three years, her hard work has definitely paid off. She will be visiting Assisi and Rome, Italy in less than a month as an Assisi Scholar, even after not being in the Honors Program as a freshman and finally being offered a spot her junior year. “I am so nervous to fly that far. I have never been out of the country, but I am really excited to experience a different culture and meet new people.”

Destinee spent her summer meeting new people. First, she attended Kairos with her classmates in June and had nothing but positive things to say about the experience. “Kairos -- loved it. I met a lot of people I didn’t know, and it gave me a different perspective on their life. I opened up more than I ever have (probably cried more than I ever have) but it was such a rewarding experience. I’m glad I got to connect with my classmates in a new way as I head into my senior year.” Another place that Destinee met new people was at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Destinee has applied for years to their summer programs and has been rejected. “I have always been interested in the military, especially exploring my options at the service academies. Even with the rejection letters in the past, I continued to apply and this year out of 20,000 applicants I was put on a waiting list and eventually made it in the top 800 incoming seniors to experience the Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar.” Destinee was thrilled to have the chance to finally experience what the Naval Academy had to offer, there was one thing in the way – the cost. “I couldn’t afford to get to the seminar, so I applied for a scholarship and luckily, was chosen to have my flight paid for to get Annapolis."

Destinee’s first day at the Naval Academy was an eye-opening experience, “You have to embrace roughness and yelling. You have to get up early and you only have two minutes to get ready. I was physically pushed further than I’ve ever been.We were expected to sprint from place to place, hold three minute planks and endless amounts of push-ups. There were times I wanted to walk or give up, but I knew I couldn’t. The pain and suffering doesn’t outweigh my desire to succeed, I want this so bad.” The most memorable moment for Destinee was when her squad leader took her squad to the Naval Academy cemetery. “Looking around while at the cemetery was a very moving moment for me. It really sunk in that I may have to die for my country, and that is something I am willing to do.” Destinee’s performance at the seminar, along with her hard work in the classroom, was recognized. At the end of the seminar, she was named to the Naval Academy’s Summer Dean’s List. “I was completely shocked -- I will say, never giving up and continuing to tell myself ‘I can do this’ seemed to pay off.”

Destinee’s mother has an expression, “What is for you is for you…” and Destinee lives this every day. She is currently working on applications, for not only the Naval Academy, but also the Air Force Academy. “My ultimate goal is to be a lawyer in the military. I want that culture of discipline and camaraderie. When you meet soldiers and veterans you can just tell it is a brotherhood and sisterhood and I want to be a part of that -- but like my Mom says God has a plan for me and if it isn’t with the military I will pursue my goal to become a lawyer.”

The people who know Destinee the best believe she will be able to achieve those things she wants. Mr. Kathman says, “Destinee is one of the hardest working kids, in the classroom and athletics, I’ve ever encountered in my career. She always has a positive outlook and a smile on her face. She truly is a Spartan!”One of her best friends, Mary Kate DeWees concurs with Mr. Kathman, “Destinee is the hardest working person I know. Just watching her work so hard every day in and outside of the classroom amazes me. I’m so blessed to be her friends and I can’t wait to see what all she accomplishes in the next few years and throughout her life.”

“Destinee is smart and empathetic, she’s very passionate about what she does and always makes sure she does her best.”

Janissa Jackson-Merritt Class of 2019