MESA’s dedicated valedictorian is ready for her next chapter

Breeze K., the 2023 Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) valedictorian, is nothing if not dedicated; to her grades, her community, and her future. Her path wasn’t always easy, but it taught her perseverance and the value of support.   

She said she has faced hardships, like living with someone who struggled with substance abuse while she had to attend school online during the pandemic. Her family is one, she said, where most members never graduated from high school, and money was always tight. Still, she was undeterred and kept her eyes on the prize she wanted before she started middle school, by studying hard, getting the right help, and taking enough college classes to keep her grade point average ahead of the pack.  

“People ask me how I got to the top of my class with everything going on in my life and honestly, instead of using it as an excuse to fail, I used it as motivation to prevail,” she said. “I didn’t have an example of how to do well in high school, I had to figure things and I just knew this was something I needed to accomplish for myself.” 

And she tried to lift others in her school along the way. MESA is a member of the EL Education network, which advocates a culture of CREW, where students strive to reach ambitious goals together as a community. The school’s director, Annaleah Bloom, said Breeze was always a strong leader in that regard. 

“She models hard work and often checked in with the underclassmen in her CREW to help them stay on top of their work,” Bloom said. “She goes above and beyond; we are proud of all she has accomplished.” Breeze credits many of MESA’s teachers who kept her on track and her community for constant support.  

This fall, Breeze will attend the University of Colorado Boulder to study architecture. She chose the school because it made financial sense over some more expensive out-of-state options she had considered. And the architecture industry is one she knows would provide her financial security. Not having to stress over finances is her biggest goal, she said and, someday, she would love to buy her mother a house.  

And she could apply some creativity with the degree. After she graduates from college, Breeze would like to help design more modern-styled buildings that get people’s attention, like the Denver Art Museum, which she admires for its “funky” look. She has already designed a good foundation for herself and is well-placed to succeed in the future.