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Student Insights on TSD’s Highly Capable Program

Julissa smiling to camera     Saydi smiling to camera

Meet Julissa Cuevas and Saydi Chino, two Toppenish High School seniors with first-hand experience in the Highly Capable (HC) program. HC participants are offered rigorous coursework and special projects that let them dive into topics of interest. 

Julissa, reflecting on her journey, describes HC as an opportunity for students to delve into unique experiences beyond the traditional curriculum. She highlights the program's emphasis on creativity, citing art classes as particularly impactful.

“It has helped me with creativity.  I’m in a lot of art classes right now and I don’t think I would have been as interested in art had I not participated in HC.”

Saydi also enjoyed the unique activities HC presented but notes that camaraderie and the development of her social skills were equally as important. She says, “I feel more confident in being with others and talking to my teachers. Before joining, I was shy [but] now I’m more confident and can talk to other students and adults.”

From tie-dye sessions to Mariners games, science projects, and more, the HC program offered Julissa and Saydi a blend of academic enrichment and social engagement. Both students credit the program with bolstering their confidence and interpersonal skills, crucial assets for their future endeavors.

Julissa plans to pursue her passion for art and digital design at Pacific Lutheran University, while Saydi aspires to study biology at Gonzaga University to become a pediatrician. Their advice to prospective HC participants? Seize the opportunity to participate, embrace new experiences, and nurture valuable skills that extend far beyond the classroom.

Interested in learning more about Highly Capable? Email Sarah Baisinger, Highly Capable Coordinator, at