“Coming from the 6th grade into 7th—that was the hardest transition I’ve ever had to make,” says 10th grade student Zyaire Taylor. “I used to argue and not trust people. I had to learn to be something different.” Zyaire, a student at Democracy Prep Public Charter School (DPCS) located in Harlem, New York City, used to attend a traditional public school in the South Bronx, but she wasn’t challenged in her classes and her boredom began to express itself in negative ways. That’s when Zyaire’s mother enrolled her in the lottery at DPCS. Zyaire admits, “I had good grades before but I didn’t have to work for them. When I first got here, I had seven Ds. I never ever get seven Ds! So that’s how I learned I had to work a lot harder.” Strong-willed and passionate, Zyaire has learned to fight for what she believes in and has since become a national championship debater. DPCS first opened its doors in August 2006. By 2010 it became the highest performing middle school in all of New York City.