As a theater arts student at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Darnna Banks (Class of 2004) always loved science, but she never knew that her dream of being a doctor would take her so many miles from home.
Today, she is back home applying for residency and AlumNow, a Hub feature that checks in with district alumni to see what they’re doing, caught up with her for an update.
What are you doing now?
I recently earned my doctor of medicine degree and am currently applying for residency.
Briefly list a few of your career and/or personal highlights.
I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in biology, Bachelor of Arts in theater, and minor in Spanish.
I also studied abroad at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras in 2007, earning credits toward my minor in Spanish, and I earned a full scholarship from the Cuban Government to study medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba.
What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school?
I did not have just one favorite. I was very active during high school. I was in the theater cluster, where I spent most of the time engaged in children’s theater, directing, acting, and set construction. The theater department fed my artistic side, and I was involved in extracurricular activities with the Spanish and biology departments, which fed my academic side. I was also involved in the student council and National Honor Society, serving as president during my senior year.
Who was your favorite teacher?
I definitely had more than one favorite teacher! Several faculty members were there to motivate, guide, and help me become the person that I am today. They include: theater teacher Mr. Charlton Gavitt; biology teacher Mr. Healy, a gem in the Science Department who is truly dedicated and patient; Mrs. Dodson, who motivated me to further my studies of Spanish language and culture; and Dean Marvette Sturges. Thanks to them, I am now a BILINGUAL DOCTOR!
What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?
I learned invaluable leadership skills while serving as president in the National Honor Society and as a member of student council. Dean Marvette Sturges once told me, “If you aim at nothing, you are going to hit nothing.” From that day forward, I started making short-term and long-term goals for myself. Now, I look back years later and see that what you put your mind to will somehow manifest. I knew I wanted to attend medical school, I never thought that goal would take me to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Cuba!
What advice, if any, would you offer to high school students today?
Where there is a will, there is a way. Do not be discouraged because your goal seems impossible. Opportunity is always knocking, but you have to do your part and open the door. Stay focused and finish school. Take time and listen to your elders; they have already paved the path for us, and we must listen to them for direction.
College/University and degree earned:
Latin American School of Medicine, Havana, Cuba, 2015.
University of Hawaii, B.A. in biology; B.A. in theater and minor in Spanish, 2008.
If you are a Dallas ISD alum and would like to be considered for an AlumNow spotlight, please complete the questionnaire and submit along with a recent high-resolution headshot. We look forward to catching up with you and sharing your accomplishments.