Reared in Brooklyn with very Caribbean values, Dextina’s mother instilled in her a hunger to succeed very early, which was only strengthened when her family moved to Guyana. While in Guyana, Dextina was placed on the accelerated track skipping four grades. She finished Guyana’s middle school equivalent by the fourth grade. Dextina and her brother quickly learned to be very independent and responsible for their education, a trait that followed them when they returned to the American school system.
After returning to the United States, Dextina sought the most challenging educational programs available. She learned about Mott Hall, a junior high school with very deep roots in Science, Math and Technology. She jumped at the opportunity to apply and received admittance. While there she studied Chinese and took advantage of all of the resources she found. She learned about Prep 9, which prepares junior high kids for boarding school. After the two year program she received a full scholarship to Emma Willard’s, the boarding school. However, her mother, worried about the distance, prevented her matriculation.
In lieu of that lost opportunity, Dextina stumbled on Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a college prep program for high achieving, and low income students of color in New York City public schools. While there she received a mentor and various opportunities that helped her to excel and win an EIL scholarship to travel to China for the summer. While juggling SEO, enrichment program applications, and various clubs and organizations, Dextina also spent much of her time taking care of her younger sister and the house when her mother couldn’t.