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Pursuing the law to help those in tough places

Your Dream is Our Dream: Ava Driskell

Your Dream is Our Dream is an initiative of Kent ISD

Kent City, Kent ISD — Ava Driskell is a junior at Kent City High School who spends part of her day at Kent Career Tech Center studying criminal justice. Having struggled — as many students did — through the COVID years of her middle and high school career, finding something to study that she was passionate about was a life-saver. 

“I think once you get yourself (going) in the right direction, it’s hard to see anything else than what you want to do,” she said. 

What is your dream? “I always wanted to do something with law enforcement when I was little. Well, originally, when I was little I wanted to be a lawyer. (But) I’ve always had that love for law enforcement and being hands on — I’m just a really hands-on person.”

What do you hope to do as a career or occupation? “I want to work with children and women that were in domestic violence situations (as a law enforcement officer). So I want to work at a Safe Haven-type place and (for) women, children and men who are in those … situations, I want to get them out.

“I want to major in sociology or psychology and I want to minor in criminal justice (at Ferris State University), so if I do decide I want to go the officer route, I can do that, but if I want to take a different route (in law enforcement) I can do that too.”

A varsity soccer player for Kent City High School, Ava (right) hopes to pursue the sport further in college

How is school helping you achieve your dream? “I go to KCTC for the criminal justice program. I started this year (but) … I knew I wanted to do the criminal justice program since I was a freshman. I went to Grandville Schools my freshman year and … I wasn’t doing so hot — it was a COVID year — so basically my counselor at the time, she just handed me a paper for the Kent ISD thing … and I saw (the criminal justice program) and I thought, ‘Oh, criminal justice sounds awesome.’

“(At the Tech Center) we’ve done building searches, so they’ll teach us how to be interactive. Right now we’re doing traffic stops, so we’re pretending to pull over a car and we’re calling out the stops and learning to tell them what they’re doing wrong. We learn how to handcuff professionally. We get CPR certified and by the end of the two years we’ll be 911 dispatch certified, so I can become a 911 dispatcher right out of high school. I also get six credits to Ferris State doing two years of criminal justice. 

“Another nice thing that they do: they set us up for the future after we graduate. We meet every Friday with someone from the industry, so like a police officer will come in, or … CPS will come in and tell us what they do. And we can get their information so we can reach out to them if we want. They also do interviews for cadet positions with the GRPD and the Wyoming PD.”

‘I think once you get yourself (going) in the right direction, it’s hard to see anything else than what you want to do.’

— junior Ava Driskell

Is there a teacher or someone at your school who is helping you achieve your dream? “(Kent City High School counselor Jeff) Wilson has been a huge help. I was having a hard time in school last year in general … so Wilson helped me out a lot with that. He would, like, pull me out of class and show me how to enroll in KCTC and he would help me look at everything and get my application done.”

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Allison Poosawtsee
Allison Poosawtsee
Allison Poosawtsee is a reporter covering Rockford Public Schools and Kent City Community Schools. She has spent 15+ years working and writing in the education context, first for her alma mater, Calvin University, and then for various businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Grand Rapids area. As a student journalist, she served as editor-in-chief of Calvin’s student newspaper where she garnered several Michigan Collegiate Press Association awards for her work. Allison is a proud parent of two Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars and a passionate advocate for the value of public education.

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