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Alumni to Teacher: Lisa Brown at STRIVE Prep - Green Valley Ranch

October 22, 2021
Tell us about your time as a student with STRIVE Prep. What school(s) did you go to and what years?
I attended West Denver Prep, the first school of Strive Prep. Mr. Gibbons went door to door recruiting students and their families to apply to his school. At the time going to college was nothing more than a dream until Mr.Gibbons and other teachers help make it a reality. I attended all three years of middle school there. At the time there was a lottery system. Only 100 students would be selected to attend, at the time I was not selected. My grandmother does not speak English due to moving from Japan. My grandmother took English classes to be able to write to Mr.Gibbons why it's important I attended the school. This was important because no one in my family was able to graduate from high school.

During my time at West Denver Prep, students were encouraged to "Strive for College". We were encouraged to dress professionally, study long hours and advocate our voices. Learning these skills at an early age helped me be prepared for college. I have a learning disability as well as being partially deaf. I accredit a lot of my success to Strive. I went on to receive my BA from Colorado Mesa University to pursue a Master's from Grand Canyon University. 

How does it feel to be back as a teacher this time?

I feel honored to be a teacher at Strive. The teachers that I had were life-changing and taught me not only how to be successful in the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well. I aspire to make that type of impact in my students' life. I feel like I can encourage my students that anything is possible with a little hard work. My classroom motto is "Striving for success". I want my students to feel empower to overcome challenges that arise throughout their lives. 

What is your favorite memory at STRIVE Prep?


My favorite memory from Strive is the first day of school at West Denver Prep. I remember the feeling of not wanting to attend West Denver Prep because it was a school that my previous friends were not attending. During our first morning meeting, Mr.Gibbon preached how important pursuing an education is important for future opportunities. I remember walking away feeling hope. That hope is what motivated me to want to obtain a college degree. 

What are some of the most important values you learned at STRIVE Prep that you want to make sure you pass on to your current students?

Determination is an important value because it's what motivates students to work hard. When West Denver Prep opened, teachers dedicated an endless amount of hours to the success of their students. In return as a student, you want to be able to give that back to your mentors. When students are focus on their goals, they will do whatever is in their power to achieve them. Personally, I have a learning disability and am partially deaf so I struggled academically. However, West Denver Prep taught me how to find resources that support me throughout my academic career. This skill leads to me learning to advocate for myself and my needs.

 Similar to determination, West Denver Prep taught me accountability. I learn that I am responsible for my own actions and the outcomes. West Denver Prep held students accountable for completing their homework. As a result of not completing it would result in students staying after. This skill taught me time management. In college, I had to use this skill to hold myself accountable for completing assignments and balancing a social life. In my career, I find myself using similar techniques for myself and my students. 

What are you most looking forward to this school year?

I am taking on a new role of being the 7th-grade Speech and Debate Teacher. What I'm looking forward to is making content relevant to my students. I'm looking forward to helping students learn tools that will make them great communicators. From experiences made in my classroom, I'm sure that my students will retain information that they learn in the classroom and use it outside the classroom. These life skills will translate into high school to even college.


What animal do you most identify with and why?
The animal that I identify with is a lion. A lion symbolizes courage and strength. Having a disability, I had to be strong enough to ask for help. At times I didn't want to ask for help due to not wanting to be judged or mislabeled. I demonstrate courage because I ask hard questions.
I ask questions that not only benefit myself but for my students. I'm a strong advocate for my students and their needs regardless of it's academically or non-academically.


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