BEMIDJI -- Mya Donnell aspires to build community in both a tangible and figurative sense.
The TrekNorth senior sees her future as building sustainable, affordable housing for others and bringing together new friends from various walks of life.
Donnell will graduate along with the rest of TrekNorth’s class of 2021 on Friday, May 28.
Originally from Red Lake, she’s lived in Bemidji most of her life and has attended TrekNorth for most of her school career.
“It's such a small community that it's easy to talk to the teachers and get work done. I think that's kind of what I wanted, too, because I feel like I was too scared to go to a big school, and this is kind of perfect,” Donnell said of the charter school.
She says that getting involved in high school has been her proudest achievement.
“I've gotten really involved in clubs, I'm the president of Native Youth Council and the president of National Art Honor Society, and I'm also a member of the National Honor Society. I feel like all throughout high school, I've always wanted to be involved in groups like that,” Donnell said. “In these last few years, I've gotten a lot more involved in the school, and that's probably my biggest accomplishment -- being more outgoing.”
Despite working two part-time jobs and participating in numerous clubs and activities, Donnell finds time to crochet and paint in her free time.
Donnell plans to attend Bemidji State University to finish her general education close to home, and then transfer to the University of Minnesota to graduate from the Carlson School of Business.
“After I graduate with a bachelor's in business, I want to open up my own construction company and work on building houses. I want to build sustainable energy houses,” she said.
Donnell became interested in houses and their construction after working as a house cleaner, one of two jobs she works during her time outside of school.
When she was cleaning houses, she said she noticed that many of them were oversized and didn't feel "homey" to her. Donnell said she wants to cater to building smaller, affordable homes that could be sustainably built and maintained.
“I want to build houses for people that can't afford ginormous houses,” she said. “I want to build more energy-based housing around here.”
She hopes one day to start a sustainable residential construction business in Red Lake.
“Growing up with my dad, he always had his business out of the house, so it was never like, actually home-looking,” Donnell explained. “I kind of always wanted to create a house that felt like a home.”
In the weeks leading up to graduation, Donnell is feeling nostalgic about her TrekNorth experience.
“I think I'm going to be really, really emotional,” Donnell said. “For sure I'll cry. I know it'll be a big accomplishment. I never really questioned whether or not I was going to graduate, but these last few years have been hard.”
Along with gaining insight into her dream job, Donnell is hoping to find community during her college experience.
“One thing that I think I might regret is not mingling with every single group and getting to know everybody and kind of just staying in my own little circle,” Donnell said. “That's something I'm definitely going to try to get out of college -- to meet more people that I wouldn't usually talk to or hang out with. I want to be a part of a community.”
Donnell and the rest of TrekNorth’s class of 2021 will celebrate their accomplishments with a commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 28, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.