Treehouse Student Spotlight: Desiree’s Story

By Devin Howell, Treehouse Education Specialist

When I first met Desiree Magill in October 2012, she had been using Treehouse services for a little over two years. She was a senior at Auburn High School, with dreams and aspirations of going to college to study veterinary medicine.  Desiree had the natural determination and drive, but needed guidance through the process of overcoming obstacles to finish her senior year strong, and applying and preparing for higher education.

Desiree by Seattle University's Fountain

In our work together through the Graduation Success Program at Treehouse, Desiree and I developed a plan to help her reach her goals. Desiree eagerly welcomed the extra challenge of taking an AP math course, and I helped her get connected to math tutoring through Neighborhood House in the Auburn area for extra support.

I also connected Desiree to Seattle Education Access (SEA), for assistance in completing her college application to Seattle University Fostering Scholarship Program. I checked in with Desiree on a weekly basis to ensure that she kept in contact with the coordinator, and that she met all of the objectives for the scholarship program.

Once these dots were connected for Desiree, and she could see a clear path to take to making her dream a reality, she was unstoppable. She not only got accepted to her first choice school, Seattle University, but was awarded a full ride scholarship!

The transition out of the foster care system can be a difficult one without the necessary supports.  Since Desiree and I had already developed a strong rapport during her senior year, I was able to continue to support Desiree as she became an independent young adult for the first time, and tackled her freshman year of college.

Desiree standing in front of Seattle University’s Science and Engineering Building, where she is taking the majority of her classes this quarter.

In college, Desiree has continued to utilize the Wearhouse and Little Wishes programs, through which she obtains necessary household items for her dorm. Through her transition to college, I continued to support Desiree by checking in periodically and reminding her of important deadlines and objectives that need to get met prior to the school year starting.

Desiree has had a very successful year so far at Seattle U and plans to transfer to WSU in the future to become a veterinarian. She is also engaged in the Independent Living Program at the YMCA during her time at Seattle U. When I asked her to share some insight on her journey, she shared the following quote, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

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About the Author

Devin Howell uses his passion for helping youth succeed as a Treehouse Education Specialist. Each week, Devin meets with students in middle and high schools across South King County to help them stay on track in their classes, set meaningful goals, and transition to fulfill their post-secondary dreams.

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