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  • Panther Spotlight
  • Kristy DeVore
    Automotive Service Technology Student

    "Take every opportunity you’re given and don’t let other people get in the way of your success."

    Kristy DeVore

    Kristy DeVore has faced plenty of challenges in her young life. She decided a long time ago that those obstacles would not define her.

    On May 22, DeVore will become the first Cañon City High School student to graduate with an associate degree before receiving a high school diploma. She will receive her Associate of General Studies degree from Pueblo Community College. In addition, she soon will complete PCC’s Automotive Service Technology program.

    The automotive program and her PCC concurrent enrollment instructor at CCHS, John Duston, have provided stability and guidance for the past several years as she dealt with significant personal losses.

    DeVore’s father, a mechanic and employee at an auto parts store who sparked her love of cars, passed away before she started her junior year. Due to other family circumstances, she’s been living independently since the beginning of her senior year and working while she attends school.

    For others in a similar situation, graduating from high school would be a significant accomplishment. DeVore, 18, decided she wanted more, especially after Duston told her she was within reach of getting her associate degree – and being the first CCHS student to accomplish it before high school graduation.

    “I could see her senioritis go right out the door when she heard that,” said Duston.
    “I would just tell myself, ‘I’ve got to focus on the future no matter how hard it is in the present,’” DeVore said.

    With the support of her older sister and Duston, she made it happen.

    “Not once did I ever see Kristy give up,” Duston said.

    DeVore offers plenty of praise to the instructor who has become a trusted mentor.

    “Mr. Duston really inspired me a lot. I didn’t have a parental figure to hold me accountable and he became that figure,” she said. “He is the best kind of person. He makes me want to be like him.”

    Following both of her graduations, her immediate goal is simple: “I’m ready. I just want to get to work.”

    She hopes eventually to combine her automotive skills with a love of police investigation by working as an insurance adjustor or collision reconstruction specialist.

    DeVore said her challenges have helped her be more compassionate toward others. She has some wise words for everyone else who is facing challenges and trying to improve themselves: Keep moving.

    “Life hits you like a brick but you have to take everything in stride,” she said. “Don’t slack. Take every opportunity you’re given and don’t let other people get in the way of your success.”