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No obstacle insurmountable for Justin DeMaio
OXFORD HILLS — Justin DeMaio, a senior at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, has certainly had to overcome obstacles to be a successful student.
DeMaio’s mother passed away in the Rhode Island Station Nightclub fire of 2003 and his father passed away a couple years later. He was subsequently adopted by his aunt and uncle relocating to Maine.
In spite of the obstacles life has put before him, DeMaio has grown into a fine young man with high aspirations for his future.
In his four years at OHCHS, DeMaio has taken advantage of a variety opportunities to help him achieve his goals.
Students have the option to receive college credit for some courses offered in the technical program at OHCHS.
Currently, DeMaio is enrolled in a college level computer course offered by CMCC. This is one of two college classes DeMaio has taken at CMCC, earning both high school and college credit.
DeMaio explains that he enrolled in the college class because, “I just didn’t want to have to take [the courses] later. I wanted to get them out of the way now. And, it saves money!”
In addition to his use of academic resources, DeMaio also makes regular visits to the guidance office to check in with his school counselor.
DeMaio’s determination to pick the right colleges for the right price has also brought him in to the Aspirations Lab to seek additional help. The Aspirations Lab is a resource for all students at OHCHS interested in pursuing any type of education or job after high school.
DeMaio has used the lab to get ahead in the college application process and study for his SATs.
DeMaio is also on course to participate this year in Skills USA, a program intended to help students develop various technical skills through local and national competitions.
Last year, he won the first place prize for OHCHS Skills Challenge. On top of all his academic endeavors, DeMaio has also been able to transform his internship with the Oxford Hills Community Education Exchange at Pizza Hut into a part-time job.
Cheryl Lord, DeMaio’s business teacher, explains, “While working at Pizza Hut, Justin is realizing the importance of exposing himself to the many aspects of the business world. He is learning that drive, fortitude and competitiveness are needed to be successful in business.”
DeMaio is applying to Johnson and Wales University, Providence College and the University of Southern Maine. He aspires to earn a degree in Business Management so that one day he might be able to own his own business.
DeMaio has taken his resourcefulness to the next level, seeking out scholarship opportunities through the Station Education Fund in Rhode Island.
"Justin's commitment to his own education is admirable," said DeMaio's guidance counselor, Erin Flynn.
"He is both thoughtful and thorough in his approach to what colleges will be a best fit for him and has actively sought out resources in our school and
community to help him achieve his goals.
"For example, last week he spent the morning networking with college admissions representatives at the OHCHS College Fair. Justin is not a student to sit back and wait for others to do something for him, rather, he is the kind of the student who has the initiative, drive and motivation necessary to succeed.
"His personal strength and resilience, despite everything he has gone through in his short life, is an inspiration to all who are fortunate enough to really know him."
DeMaio is a fantastic example of a young man who has not been dealt an easy hand. Yet, his ability to recognize and utilize the resources in his school and community has given him a chance to "aspire higher."