Before the start of summer, we interviewed a group of graduating seniors on their plans after high school and their high school experience. Meet Tayshaun Kelly, Ánimo South L.A. Charter High School class of 2022 graduate, who has plans to attend California State University Dominguez Hills and major in computer science.
Q: How did you end up choosing Computer Science?
A: Ever since the age of eight, I've been into computers and have loved them. I did a program last summer called Teens Exploring Technology (TXT), where they taught us web and app development. From there, I've grown in that field and mainly love it because of problem-solving. I've always been the type to figure out problems or try to find workarounds. Once I got more into the field, I instantly loved it. I even taught a group of middle schoolers how to code, and this summer, I'm going to help teach a group of LAUSD students how to code.
How did your school motivate you to pursue that major?
I'm working with the art coordinator to see if I can bring a computer science course to ASLA next year. It was my idea, I noticed a huge interest in computer science, but we don't really have the resources. So I was like, I want to work with you guys to bring something after school next year for those students who wish to learn, just like how I participated in TXT and learned a lot and gained a lot. I want to give back because, what is knowledge if you can't share it?
What in particular do you want to concentrate in computer science?
That's a great question. I have a lot of experience in web, app, and software development, but I have tinkered with blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and cybersecurity. Honestly, I love it all. So it's tough for me to pick. That's still to be determined.
What are you looking forward to on campus?
I'm participating in one of the [Cal State Dominguez Hills] programs, Computer Science Promise, and we start classes next week. The first thing I want to do when I step onto campus is double down on the basics and just learn everything. I'm most looking forward to just, you know, gaining more knowledge.
How did Ánimo South L.A. prepare you for college or this point in your life?
ASLA helped me find TXT. When they hear about opportunities, they always share them [with the students]. They make sure we have all the information and encourage us to apply. They've always provided multiple resources for students. Another thing ASLA does is install the idea of working towards what you believe in. I think my future will be in computer science, and even from talking to teachers and stuff, the administration were always encouraging and giving me ideas. Even the principal, Ms. Nyesha Philpot, gave me her cousin's information. He was a cybersecurity officer in the Army, and has his own cybersecurity company. She gave me his information, and he's been mentoring and teaching me, providing help anytime I need it.
How did Ánimo South L.A. help you get on track for Dominguez Hills?
That's a great story. I use this story and tell people this story more to say, hey, I could change things around. You guys can too. Coming into like the ninth [grade] and part of tenth grade, I always got into advanced classes, but I didn't try in school, and my grades reflected that. They weren't the best at all, but throughout time and talking to my counselors and other people my perception of school was changed all the way around to the point where this semester, I just ended it with a 3.7 GPA. Last semester, I believe it was a 3.5 GPA. And they just really inspired me and made me rethink the way I see school. Now I see school as a tool rather than something you just go to every day because it's required
What words of encouragement would you give the class of 2023 when they start applying to college this summer?
KMA. KMA stands for keep moving ahead. Because you’ve been through a bunch of challenges and obstacles, you will continue to go through them, but it's up to you to persevere and continue through. It's up to you to fight through any problems that may arise because at the end of the day, you have a goal, and you're the only one who can stop yourself from reaching that goal. So it's up to you to keep working towards your goals.