Mikayla Alston has always had a passion for animals. Whether she is researching big cats or taking care of the Ballou STAY High School pet, Bethany the guinea pig, she continues to pursue opportunities to learn about animals toward her goal of becoming an animal conservationist. She says that she is driven by a desire to protect endangered species. “Poaching is very upsetting to me. I would like to help repopulate and restore endangered species,” says Mikayla. This fall, she will take the first step toward that goal at Bowie State University, where she will major in biology. Thinking about her time at Ballou STAY, Mikayla says that she would describe the school as a “close knit community.” Because of the self-paced courses, Mikayla says that she appreciates the ways that she has been able to work through her courses at the speed that works best for her rather than being driven by the rest of the class. Overall, she says the counselors and teachers have helped her to succeed. “They’ll do anything in their power to help you. It is really a family to me.” #DCPSGoesToCollege — with Bowie State University and Ballou STAY High School.