• College Bound: Debate Champ and Valedictorian Headed To Princeton On Full Scholarship

    By Erin Williams

    The school year may be over, but things are just getting started for 17-year old Destiny Crockett. She graduated from Clyde C. Miller High School in St. Louis with a 4.1 GPA, finished in the top 16 of the Urban Debate League's national competition last month with her partner Cameron Smith, and will be attending Princeton in the fall on a full scholarship - the first graduate from the school and the College Bound program to do so.

    Crockett, whose father died before she was born, says she was taught her the meaning of achievement by her mother. "The first thing I ever read was a Langston Hughes poem  called "I, Too," says Crockett. "She told me that if I memorized it then she would pay me $50. And I memorized it, and she did pay me $50." Crockett also credits her mother for teaching her to be an independent thinker and "not to rely on anybody else to find answers for me or to tell me what I could and couldn't achieve."  Crockett later found her strength in debate - but not before giving sports a try. "I though cross-country [track] was going to be my thing, but I'm not very athletic and I wasn't really good at it." She dropped by a meeting for the debate team after practice one day - and kept coming back.  

    "You never stop learning new things," she says about participating in forensics. "I don't know if I had confidence going in, but I think I'm more confident going out that I'm a good researcher and... a critical reader and a critical thinker." In April, she and her partner, Cameron Smith, finished in the top 16 of the Urban Debate League's national competition, and they will soon compete in Birmingham in the national debate tournament of the National Forensic League. After that, she'll attend college orientation at Princeton University. She received a full scholarship to the school and plans to concentrate on education. "I want to change the way policies are made, and I think that children should be put before politics - and I want to play a role in that," she says. "I think I've been able to achieve a lot because I have [a] really strong community," says Crockett, who is also involved in the College Bound program and regularly spent time as a volunteer at The Women's Safe House, a domestic violence shelter. "I get nothing but love and support. It builds my confidence for when I go on to Princeton - that I know I can do great things." 

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