Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Best and Brightest 2014: Daiszha Cooley, Coronado High School

By: ANSLEE WOLFE Special to The Gazette
May 7, 2014
0
photo - Daiszha Cooley, Best and Brightest
Daiszha Cooley, Best and Brightest 

This is the seventeenth of 20 profiles about The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2014.

Because her father has been in prison since she was a toddler, Daiszha Cooley had a decision to make.

"I could let his absence be an excuse to make poor decisions or I could let his absence motivate me to not make the same mistakes," 17-year-old Cooley said.

Her mother raised Cooley and her sister, providing so much that Cooley says she never felt a void from having one parent.

"She's more than my mom. She's also a friend, a companion and like a sister," Cooley said. "We're very close. She's molded me to be responsible."

It was her mom who nudged her to work on having a better relationship with her paternal family.

"My maternal family provided a fulfilling life, so it never crossed my mind that the wall I constructed between my paternal family and I sprouted from deeply-rooted resentment and bitterness toward my father's decisions," she said. "Stubbornly, I denied that I wrongly forged that wall."

Cooley decided last year to make an effort with her paternal grandmother. Normally at her grandma's house she would sit quietly unless spoken to. But this day was different.

"I conversed politely with my grandmother about her new work schedule and her decision to get a second bachelor's degree. I even asked her questions to gain more insight," Cooley said.

"As trivial as it seems, having a conversation with anyone from my paternal side of the family - without aggravation - was foreign. A simple conversation morphed into a form of forgiveness."

Now, Cooley texts her grandmother to check on her.

"She's been more involved with what I do," Cooley said. "She's coming to my graduation. A year ago, I wouldn't have wanted her to come, but now I do."

Colleen McElvogue, Coronado's High School counselor, says Cooley motivates, challenges and inspires her to be a better counselor.

"She has invested so much in herself, her goals and her future. And she has done all of these things in the face of adversity," McElvogue said. "She has a wonderful, loving mother in her corner who has taught Daiszha to fight through and never give up."

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.