Student Run News Site of Venice High School

Julissa Ventureno

Destanee Smith (12th grade)

Destanee Smith

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Destanee Smith


What has been the happiest moment of your life?

Seeing my twin brother; he’s the biggest part of my life. I don’t see him very much, and when I do, it’s a really happy moment. He lives in a group home, and it’s hard to see each other.”

What has been the saddest moment of your life?

“Going through Hurricane Katrina; I was 3 years old. There was a lot of storms, everything floating, a lot of dead people around. It is not a really happy thing to see. People were screaming for help. It’s just tragic. They put me on an airplane and brought me here; I went into a group home myself in Lancaster. I haven’t seen my parents, my mom and dad deceased during the hurricane, and of course, I can’t see them. They just put me in foster homes and group homes a lot of times; I keep moving around and moving schools. It makes me sad because I’m trying to be more ‘normal’ because nobody moves that much to different places with random people, but that is not really my choice.”

What do you enjoy doing?

“I like dancing and playing sports. I am on the softball team here on JV. I like drawing, and I love music, photography and technology.”

What are some of the challenges you have faced in the past?

Hurricane Katrina, moving to different places with strangers and being separated from my brother because the system doesn’t really care if you are siblings. They just want to move people. I just hope for the best for him, and I think in my head, ‘he’s okay, he’s okay, he’s okay…’”

What are your plans for the future?

“I want to be a chef, probably go to the culinary arts school Le Cordon Bleu, and then I will go back to Louisiana and start my own restaurant. Out there, there are more festivals and there are places to go in walking distance. Out here, there are places to go, but they are far, and it gets boring once in a while. I live in a group home all the way in Hollywood. It’s cool; it’s a big house with 15 kids, boys and girls. Some are just full of drama all the time so I just stay by myself. I get here by Uber everyday.”

What advice would you give to someone going through the same situation?

“Keep your head up. Try not to put yourself down because as soon as you let yourself down, it’s like everything is down. You want to just keep a happy face on even though you are hurting.”

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