Daniesha Bowles, a senior at John Marshall High School, said she never saw college as a real possibility. After having domestic problems with her mother when she was in third grade and the violent death of her brother when she was in seventh grade, along with moving from school to school (she said she’s been enrolled in a total of 11 schools), she said she lost hope for a better life. “I really didn’t have anyone to motivate me to care about anything,” Daniesha said.
Fortunately, after moving in and out of shelters, her father and grandmother helped to raise her. Daniesha said that her father, David Haskins, helped her stay on track as far as keeping her off of the streets. Her grandmother, Fusan Haskins, helped her academically. “She talked to me, and she told me I could accomplish anything that I want to, but I told her I didn’t know what it was. She was just like she wanted me to be somebody.”
This motivation from her grandmother helped Daniesha become the independent, motivated young woman that she is today. Ranked twelfth in her class, Daniesha is now highly involved in both school and the community. She currently has a 3.8 grade point average, acts as the manager of the John Marshall wrestling team, and is even taking dual enrollment courses at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her teachers, such as Nicole L. Sparkman, have also noticed the transformation. “I have known Daniesha for the past four years, and in those four years she has only gotten stronger and more mature,” Sparkman said.
Daniesha says she has her grandmother and older sister to thank for this transformation. She views both of these individuals as her inspiration to do better. She says her sister has been through a lot, if not more than what Daniesha has been through, and is the only one keeping her family together. Daniesha says her grandmother is an inspiration not only because she motivated her to do better academically, but because she is there for her and listens to her. “She shows me that she cares,” Daniesha said. “When I need someone to talk to, besides the counselors at school and my friends, she’ll listen to me.”
Taking all she’s learned from her past and working hard in the present, Daniesha has only the future to look forward to. Though not sure yet, she plans to go to college to major in psychology. She has already been accepted to Virginia Union University, Lynchburg College and Ferrum College. In the fall she’s hoping to go to Virginia Commonwealth University.