Guest blogger:  Vanessa Garcia, former student at DeKalb New Tech

I was a student at DeKalb High School during my Freshman year through the beginning of my Junior year. Being a student in DeKalb New Tech was so much fun and a great learning experience. My teachers helped me become who I am now. I loved everything about DNT; from the class environment, learning techniques, gatherings we had in the gymnasium, projects, and the great opportunities you can experience in DNT.

Freshman year was so much fun and an exciting year to begin New Tech! Our first project, Zombie 5k Run/Walk, was a fun experience for those of us involved. During that project my weaknesses became my strengths, such as talking to strangers on the phone. I used to be afraid to order a pizza on the phone and now I’m not. I was a shy person around people, but as we continued to worked in groups, I wasn’t shy any more. I wasn’t afraid to take charge when the group went off task and wasted work time. After we finished that project, I changed into a new person. New opportunities came and I took them. My first opportunity was to represent DeKalb New Tech with other students at the New Tech IPFW Project Showcase. Four of us presented the Zombie 5k to other New Tech schools and community members who attended the showcase. Other students showed different projects. We had the opportunity to meet other students.  Also, we had a tour around the campus of what studies we might do after high school.

Another project that helped me grow was the Café project. We spent time researching the right foods and equipment for the café to happen. Mrs. Irwin and Mrs. Evans believed I was the right person in the group of students to present to the school board the proposal of building a café inside the school. Presenting to them was a big deal for us. The following morning, we received the news we were approved. We practiced hard and worked to get the right information to get approved again for the next meeting. We were told the next meeting would be held at the middle school in front of a larger crowd and we would have to speak into a microphone. We were nervous to speak to a larger audience compared to the last time we presented. As we finished presenting, I felt relief and pride.

I was also lucky to be on a student panel who spoke to parents of incoming freshman.  The student panel shared information about New Tech and why we felt New Tech is the right direction for a student who wants to be successful and confident.

Presenting is what we did many times during my sophomore year at DeKalb New Tech. I was very confident in myself after my first year in high school. Presenting to business people was exciting!  We were able to present our vinaigrette salad dressing recipes to state representative, Ben Smaltz and local businesswoman, Natalie DeWitt-Taylor.

New Tech didn’t only change me completely but made me more confident about myself. All of my teachers have helped me in so many ways. I can trust them all and truly wish they could be my teachers now. They are not there just to teach you, but lead you to be successful now and in the future. I truly miss everyone at DeKalb High School.  The future may lead you in difficult directions, but into something amazing in the end!