Dashawn Sheffield


Dashawn Sheffield is a senior at North Star Academy Washington Park High School in Newark, New Jersey. Dashawn serves as one of six senior leaders at his high school and is a board member on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for two other high schools. As a freshman, Dashawn created the curriculum for and aided in the implementation of a "Health and Wellness" class within his school to focus on destigmatizing difficult conversations and fostering knowledge, openness, empathy and care. As Newark Public Schools has come under increasing criticism for policies that do not adequately incorporate socio-emotional learning and mental health Dashawn has spoken before the Board of Education as well as Senator Cory Booker to advocate for access to classes dedicated to mental health. He also founded a nonprofit known as EduMatch where high school seniors are matched with undergraduate students at universities who serve as college counselors throughout the course of the student's application process. Dashawn recognized that EduMatch would help low-income students and first-generation students who are typically silenced by college applications due both to an unbalanced college counselor-student ratio in most public schools and limited resources compared to their wealthier counterparts. Outside of North Star Academy, Dashawn started a mentoring service known as the Future Leaders Incubator that focuses on teaching cultural competency and celebrating diversity, and has worked with local businesses to coordinate job fairs specifically for students of color. He also developed a peer tutoring program in a nearby middle school to prepare students of color for high school and formed a wellness council in an elementary school in Georgia.