The Senior Spotlight series features interviews with Sibley seniors who have shown commitment to academic excellence and personal achievement. The series will highlight two seniors each week until graduation.
Daughter of Mary and Patrick Dupont of Mendota Heights
Juliet Dupont grew up in Mendota Heights, but after graduation, her sights are set far beyond its borders. Though she is still keeping her options open, Juliet hopes to one day become an international journalist or foreign correspondent and her experiences at Henry Sibley have already given her a great foundation for pursuing this goal.
Juliet’s global view started in 7th grade when she signed up for the Model United Nations (UN) program at Heritage Middle School. Model UN, which is sponsored by the YMCA Twin Cities, attracts students from across Minnesota to represent countries and engage in mock assemblies and meetings similar to those of the actual United Nations.
“In Model UN you get a better understanding of the world around you,” said Juliet. “And if that is not what you are interested in, you can make new friends or improve your speaking and writing skills, which you can apply to anything. I think it is a really valuable experience.”
Juliet was part of the District 197 Model UN Delegation for five years, only missing one conference in 9th grade. She received two Best Country Group awards from Model UN for representing the Russian Federation and India. She also held leadership positions including Henry Sibley delegation Treasurer, Chair of the Henry Sibley Delegation, a member of the YMCA Youth in Government State Steering Committee and Anderson General Assembly President.
Each position has come with larger responsibilities, provided opportunities to meet students from other high schools, and further developed Juliet’s interest in world issues. She transferred that interest to Henry Sibley by starting the Gender Equality Club (GEC) in 2015 with fellow students Naomi Kaplan, Rachel Farber and Lexi Foman.
At the time, Sibley already had a social-change club called Girls Learn International. However, Juliet and her friends saw a need for a club that would focus on supporting local causes and expose their classmates to a wider variety of topics.
At GEC meetings, the group discusses subjects such as the One-Child Policy in China and women in action movies. Juliet says that topics are chosen by the group or taken from current events and that they can have as many as 30 female and male students at their meetings.
“I think it is really important to know what is going on around you so you can make informed decisions, like when you are voting, and understand how they will affect people … it is important to know what is going to happen to your family and your community. Being informed is our responsibility.”
Juliet has also devoted time during high school to Henry Sibley’s National Honor Society and LINK Crew. She has been active in the drama program, first on stage, but eventually finding her niche as a member of the tech crew and in the Drama Club. During her senior year, Juliet served as the Student Representative on the District 197 School Board.
Despite her busy schedule, Juliet has remained committed to taking rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, U.S. History, Language and Composition, Psychology and Calculus AB. She also completed Concurrent Enrollment Spanish IV and V, which offer college credits through Minnesota State University – Mankato, and College in the Schools (CIS) Physics, which provides college credit through the University of Minnesota.
A highlight of Juliet’s high school experience was her three-week trip to India last summer. Coordinated through an organization called Global Leadership Adventures, Juliet volunteered at a daycare in the Dharamsala area and worked with kids on their English and math skills.
“It was a lot different than I thought it would be,” said Juliet. “In class you learn what a textbook tells you about a place, like how much poverty there is. And yes, it exists, but when you visit you learn there are people there who are trying to change that. Everyone was so friendly. It was beautiful and very colorful … I would go back in a heartbeat.”
This fall, Juliet will be attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.
Previously, Juliet attended Somerset Elementary and Heritage Middle School.
District 197: How has Sibley prepared you to succeed after graduation?
Juliet: My teachers at Sibley had high expectations, but made sure that I would be ready to succeed in college and provided me with endless support along the way.
Who is your favorite teacher or what is your favorite subject?
My favorite teacher at Henry Sibley is Ms. Smalstig. She introduced me to an entirely new type of writing in AP Language and Composition. Her influence led me to consider a major in journalism, a field I had never previously thought of pursuing. She always went the extra mile to make sure that I had what I needed to succeed, like taking time to talk about my papers or sending me the link to an article she thought would be helpful. It's because of Ms. Smalstig that I'm seriously thinking about becoming a writer and I can't thank her enough for opening that door for me. Her guidance has played a huge role in how I think about the future and I’ll never forget that.
What’s a memory from your time at Sibley that will always stay with you?
It's hard to zero in on any one memory. I’ll definitely remember little moments in classes and activities that made them fun, like having a bagel buyout in AP United States history, hearing Dr. Klein (now a Minnesota Senator) speak in front of my political science class, and watching The Gospel at Colonus in Mr. Skov’s Advanced World Literature class. Over the last four years I have cheered on my siblings and friends at sporting events, planned and performed at an open mic fundraiser for women’s education, taken hilarious group pictures with the rest of the Homecoming Court, and watched dramatic telenovelas with my Spanish class. These are only a handful of the moments at Sibley that made the last four years so much fun, and I’m so thankful that I had such great friends and teachers to share them with.
What advice do you have for younger students about high school?
Try new things! Exploring my interests through activities and elective classes really helped me figure out what I want my future to be like, and I made so many friends along the way. By taking political science, I learned so much about myself and how the world works, and I’m considering a career in the field. Joining Drama Club led me to make friends with people I would never have spoken to otherwise. A new opportunity to learn about yourself and meet your next best friend is always worth the effort and time.
Anything else you'd like to share about your time at Sibley?
I want to thank the School Board for all of the hard work they do behind the scenes. It was an incredible opportunity and experience to serve on the Board and I will never forget it.
Read about other achievements by students in the class of 2017:
- Senior Spotlight: Liliana Jimenez
- Senior Spotlight: Sam Gantman
- Dan O’Reilly and Alex Nilles named National Merit Finalists
- National Merit Semi-finalists and Commended - Dan O’Reilly, Alex Nilles, Sam Altshuler, Nicholas Crary, Joseph Dill, Victoria Garner, Willa Gegelman, Maya Levine, Greta Prokosch, Oren Rosenberg, and Jake Wendt.
- Greta Prokosch named Henry Sibley's 2017 Athena Award winner
- Ninety Sibley Students Earn AP Scholar Awards