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joanna
Joanna is 13 and has attended DVS since age 5. Besides preschool, DVS is the only school she has attended.

Joanna's Viewpoint

What do you like doing at DVS?
J:
I'm doing a lot of different stuff. I like being outside. I like playing the piano. I'm not really in many classes right now. I do attend Crafts class sometimes.

Over time, have there been changes in the things you like doing?
J:
Yes, there are a lot of changes. I've been acting a lot. I'm in a [musical theater] program right now on Saturday mornings, and you don't have to audition to get in but I think I'm going to start auditioning soon. I was in Almost Wicked, which I liked the most. I was the cowardly lion. I was in Twist, which is like Oliver Twist but different. I also liked being in Spam Spade, Detective. The main character was a pig, so it's kind of funny.

How do you decide what to do each day?
J:
In the mornings I'm kind of relaxed, and we just sit around and talk and stuff. Sometimes we go off campus and go out to eat. I read a lot at school. I just kind of decide by whatever we want to do that day.

How do you get the resources you need?
J:
Most of the materials are here for things I want to do. I really like that they have so many kinds of activities. They have a lot of art materials, like for sewing or just drawing. Vicente [staff] brings in all this stuff he finds that don't seem like they would have a use, like bottle tops, little things. Last year, another student and I would go into the utility room and use a hot glue gun and these little things to make little houses.

What is your proudest accomplishment during your time at DVS?
J:
Learning to play the piano makes me proud, because I think I'm really good at it, even if I don't know how to read notes. Teresa [student] taught me for about a year, and sometimes I just go online and find ways to learn music. I plan on learning this year how to read notes, but I've memorized some songs. I think it'll be easier once I learn how to read sheet music.

What is your best skill or talent?
J:
I think it's tap dancing. I took a Beginning Tap class in the fall at DVC [Diablo Valley College]. I'm going to try and keep going with that.

Is there anything you are working on improving?
J:
I'm mostly focusing on the arts like music, acting and dancing. That's what I'm trying to focus on right now. I want to get better at all those things.

What do you think of the staff?
J:
They are kind of like friends instead of people who work here. I like talking to Vicente, Anne, and Anne-Martine. I'm real close to them.

What do you think about how decisions are made at DVS?
J:
I think it's really good to have it set up this way, where the staff don't have more power than the students. I've actually been the JC [Judicial Committee] Clerk; it's a very stressful job. I really like it.

How do people get along together here?
J:
I think people get along together really well no matter how their age difference is.

What would you advise another kid who is thinking about coming to DVS?
J:
I'd advise them to be themselves, and that people will accept them, and not to be shy.

What are you thinking of doing after you leave DVS?
J:
I think I'd like to pursue acting, but there's still a lot of time.