Thousands of Miami-Dade County Public School (M-DCPS) students will graduate in June, and although commencement ceremonies will not be traditional, their accomplishments will not go unnoticed. To amplify achievements of the Class of 2020, virtual graduations for each school will commence Monday, June 8 through Tuesday, June 16. Senior recognition day is Wednesday, May 20, and Dayshawna Cason deserves the spotlight as an iPrep Academy graduate and exceptional standout. Through determination, and the assist of empowering educators and family support, she has surpassed all expectations.
A Bright Futures Medallion Scholar, Dayshawna excelled in all of her senior classes and has been accepted to nine, Florida universities including Florida Atlantic University and Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona. She has earned nearly $150,000 in college scholarship funds which will help accomplish her goal of becoming an anesthesiologist. She has committed to attend the University of Central Florida in the fall to study biology.
“After I graduate from the University of Central Florida,” Dayshawna told The Miami Times, Thursday, May 14. “I would like to attend medical school and hope to shadow doctors at medical facilities as I did while at iPrep so I can better understand the field I am pursuing.”
Through a two-year internship at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, Dayshawna garnered field experience by working alongside inspiring physicians and nurses, and said the current pandemic actually helped her devotion to medicine grow fonder.
The future Dr. Cason also participated in extracurricular activities including student government, Friday Firebird, which is the school’s video announcements and National Honor Society. The latter helped her garner over 200 hours of community service. While she is poised to be finished with high school forever, Dayshawna’s outcome exemplifies how maintaining focus through 12 years of primary and secondary education ultimately paid off.
“Dayshawna was my student for all four years at iPrep and as her multi-media and design teacher, I could always count on her,” said Ken Arrison. “Her willingness to get the job done while working on the yearbook or preparing for our weekly news segments with short turn-around times is what set Dayshawna apart.”
Distance learning, sheltering in place and maintaining positivity were just a few obstacles Dayshawna overcame her senior year, yet she persisted, left an indelible mark and set the tone for incoming students. She broke barriers through her encouragement of diversity and inclusion with the creation of Black History lunches.
“She would gather with her friends and they would bring home-cooked food from the culture and connect, this became something the entire school started to participate in over the years which I thought was unique,” said Arrison.
The trailblazing senior’s own mother was never afforded an opportunity to attend school, so witnessing her daughter’s accomplishments has been endearing. Her parents couldn’t be happier.
“My role models are my parents,” said Dayshawna. “My mom, Francina, and dad, Michael, have always worked very hard on behalf of me and my sibling to set up a life where we could succeed and flourish, and I wish that I could accomplish only half of what they have.”
In her spare time, you can find Dayshawna listening to and discovering new R&B artists or practicing her speed on the Rubik’s Cube which she considers a fun activity that stimulates her brain.
“It hurts that I had to end my senior year online and possibly begin my college experience online because it's time that can never be bought back,” Dayshawna lamented. “However, I’ve come to accept that this is what’s best for the safety of all, and hopefully people will begin to take COVID-19 more seriously.”
“My family and I may have a small gathering to watch the virtual graduation ceremony so that we can have the closest experience possible to the real thing,” said Dayshawna. “I am forever grateful for the past four years at IPrep…this institution has bought many challenges that I may have never experienced in another school, but they helped shape my character and prepared me for a future full of accomplishments and success.”