President Donna Harris stands on top of a firetruck and speaks to the crowd gathered at the Minnehaha Unity Walk that took place a few weeks after the explosion. Photo by Emma Melling.

“Reflections” – Dr. Donna Harris

“Reflections” is a new series written by junior Maddie Danzberger on the high school experiences of adults within and outside of the Minnehaha Community. The series will share lessons learned and provide insights to students as they move through high school. This installation of the series is on the story of Minnehaha Academy’s President, Dr. Donna Harris. 

It is no surprise that Minnehaha President, Dr. Harris always knew education was the career path for her. “I knew from an early age that I was going to pursue education somehow when I was a kid the game I enjoyed playing the most was ‘school’….I always knew that I would love to see the lights come in people’s eyes when they learn something to know.”

She cared a lot about her grades, saying, “I didn’t have to be reminded to do homework or study,” While in school, Harris was also on the softball and track teams. Her favorite, she says, was softball, and she ended up coaching when her daughter was old enough to play.

Harris’ father was in the Air Force, and she learned the value of putting your best effort into everything you do from bagging groceries on the Air Force Base. “I would spend every Saturday…bagging groceries for people, everybody it seemed.  It was always cold, and it wasn’t always fun…I cared about bagging groceries well, and I learned that there was an art to it and that you should always do your best.”

Her most significant regret when she was in school was not freer spirited, saying that she wishes she’d spent less time worrying and studying, and more time with friends trying new things.

The best advice she received from a teacher was to “just be yourself.”

The best advice she received was to be herself.  “I had teachers who just always encouraged me to be myself and not to try to be somebody else, just be comfortable in your skin.

“A life lesson for all of us,” she says, “is don’t try to be something you’re not.”


About Maddie Danzberger

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