Shree Chattopadhyay, set to graduate from Summit Academy Transition High School – Dayton in December 2023, has put in the work to succeed. “What it comes down to is, the more you work toward something the better the odds you are going to get it,” she says, living her beliefs.

At a first meeting with Shree Chattopadhyay, the thoughtful, articulate Summit Academy Transition High School – Dayton student leaves the impression of a rising star holding the world on a string. She is a testament to the powers of self-drive, determination and hard work, harnessed by humility, and a supportive school environment.

Chattopadhyay describes Summit Academy as her accurate landing spot two years ago, when she started at the school 11 credits behind in what should have been her senior high school year. She enrolled at Summit Academy after attending an online school where she struggled.

“It was not a great fit for me. I was lacking information, missing those in-between pieces,” Chattopadhyay explains. “Summit has been really great with helping me recover all those credits. I get a lot of one-on-one help.”

Summit’s delivery of individual attention and Chattopadhyay’s personal perseverance represent a powerful combination. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Shree Chattopadhyay (right) works on her lines for a theater production with teacher Abigail Kinnebrew.

Chattopadhyay immerses herself not just in school, but in theater and work. She recently played the role of Carolyn in “The Bridges of Madison County,” performing in six shows with the Lebanon Theatre Company. When she is not in school or on stage, Chattopadhyay works at Chick-fil-A, where a leadership opportunity waits for her in the wings.

While Chattopadhyay shines with academic achievement, a solid work ethic, a flair for writing and a passion for theater and the arts overall, it’s her humbleness that beams the brightest.

“I’ve had negative experiences for a decent part of my life, dealt with stuff. It’s never been easy for me,” explains Chattopadhyay, who is set to graduate later this month. “I’ve worked pretty hard to be in the position I am in mentally, emotionally, maturity-wise. I built my way to where I am by working, asking questions, pushing for more.”

Chattopadhyay scraps the sugar coating as she describes the multiple challenges she has endured in her young life. She retraces periods of family health setbacks, financial struggles, relocations and time living in a homeless shelter.

Perhaps Chattopadhyay’s life experiences are what bring out her best. Her compassion for her classmates, many facing their own challenges, is revealed in her understanding of their setbacks and belief in what they can achieve despite the odds they may face.

“A lot of kids are not living in the best areas and their parents are not always able to help them. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do well,” she says. “You may have to work harder and that isn’t fun, but you can get to a better place.”

For Chattopadhyay, the road to better places had a critical stop along the way, at Summit Academy Transition High School – Dayton. There, she says, a close-knit community stands ready and waiting to ensure students receive the support they need.

With ambitious sights set on a meaningful future, Chattopadhyay says she plans to attend Wright State University after taking time to focus on saving for college through work wages and scholarships. Her end goal, she says, is to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts and education degrees and become a high school teacher. Chattopadhyay explains that she wants to help students who are often “lost” when they get to high school, like she was.

Chattopadhyay’s ensuing gesture may well be the quintessential example of paying it forward.

As Maya Angelou put it, ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give.’