CHS’s Destined For Success Welcomes Guest Speaker


Angelina Nunez

Destined For Success students and sponsor hold a virtual meeting with Dr. Yewande Austin.

On February 24 Destined for Success (DFS) met in the Calvert High School library to have a virtual meeting with Dr. Yewande Austin. Dr. Austin is an honorary United States cultural ambassador and renowned TED speaker with an honorary doctorate in Humanitarianism from Stanford University.

Dr. Austin who has been recognized by many people and organizations such as former president Barack Obama, CNBC Rising, American Heart Association, and the United Nations Development Programs. She is currently building Alheri Village, a rehabilitation community for Internally Displaced People that escaped Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria.

Dr. Austin came to speak with DFS to discuss what it is like to live as a woman of color in today’s society. Topics included statistics, mindset lessons, and phrases that stay lingering in thoughts.

To show how different the experience of living is for different people, Dr. Austin presented several statistics. Worldwide 40% of girls under 18 are forced into marriage out of poverty and girls ages 11-14 are most forced into commercial sex trafficking. In the US, 1.5 million girls and women are trafficked today.  With those stats, she brought forth the discussion of how can women, women of color especially, become their best selves while living in a society with these harsh statistics.

Dr. Austin presented a great deal of information and gave insightful advice. Arguably the most impactful and memorable piece of advice she offered was about dealing with trauma.

“You don’t have to be defined by your troubled circumstances, but you are in charge of how you deal with those traumas,” said Dr. Austin.

Sherri Barber, the sponsor of DFS described the club as “a group of women of color who come together to try to inspire each other and help others”. DFS is setting up these young women to become leaders and become their individual definitions of success. Since DFS carries these goals, the advice that Dr. Austin provided gave special insight for them to relate to and learn from. Many people go through the hardships that Austin is referring to but not a lot of them are able to take that and create a fulfilling life out of it.

“After all the hardships if you are still standing you can still succeed,” said Dr. Austin.

The young women of DFS were able to learn a lot from Dr. Austin, and there will be more opportunities for them to learn from outside speakers. The organization plans to continue to bring guest speakers like Dr. Austin in to inform the students about life outside of school and how best to thrive in it.

“When we get the opportunity to invite more people back into the building, yes, we will do that again,” said Ms. Barber.