Calista Fyfe is into pretty much everything. It’s not uncommon for the Dallas International School senior to debate policy in her global politics class in the morning, grind through a basketball practice in the afternoon and work on designing an elaborate costume at night. That’s just a typical day.
“Being at DIS has shaped me into loving a lot of different things,” she said. “That’s why I fell in love with it. I want to try different things.”
That curiosity led Calista, who’s been at DIS since kindergarten, to try out for the basketball team in high school, despite not having played extensively growing up. A few whirlwind seasons later, she’s been recruited to play collegiately at Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school in New York.
“The coach came out last year to one of our practices and he liked us,” she said. “I visited campus in October, met some of the girls and got to see the gym. We haven’t had a signing ceremony yet, but we are going to and I’m going to be playing.”
Calista said that she never envisioned herself as a college athlete, but once she joined the DIS basketball team, she couldn’t get enough of the sport.
“It’s definitely weird, because if you would have told me a couple years back that I was going to be playing basketball in college, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said. “But it’s awesome. (DIS basketball coach) Jones is awesome. I’m a point guard and one of the captains so I help lead the team, and I just love it.”
Playing basketball has also helped her change her perspective and attitude. She’s learned a lot about teamwork and leadership.
“I think a lot of what DIS stresses is academics and independence, but through basketball I’ve learned to rely on and support other people to be better,” she said. “We aren’t necessarily a spectacular team in terms of on-court play, but we’ve learned with each other. You don’t need to win all the time. You can just do something because you love it.”
But basketball isn’t her only love, or her first. That would be art. Calista is in IB Visual Arts, a small, extremely high-level art class. Instead of a strict curriculum, teachers encourage free thinking and individual expression.
“It’s been really interesting finding out who I am through art and what I like to do,” she said. “Being able to do my own thing and create my own work and get to see myself develop through art is really helpful. I find myself doing it now even when I don’t have to.”
Calista’s art take many forms, from photography to drawing, painting, printmaking and costume design. She’s even been featured in the Dallas Morning News for one of the costumes she made and wore to Dallas Fan Days (previously Dallas Comic Con).
“Art is definitely something I want to pursue in college,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun. Even making mistakes and learning to make it work, it’s been fun.”
As a student at a liberal arts college, Calista won’t have a set major, though she plans to focus on politics and political science.
“Loving a lot of things is why I fell in love with liberal arts,” she said. “But my dream job would be a UN ambassador for a French-speaking country, somewhere in Africa or around the globe.”
Now so close to the end of her journey at DIS, Calista said her experiences at the school, including the struggles and challenges, have shaped who she is.
“Being a French school, there were some things that my family found odd, because we’re all American,” she said. “But it was good to learn to adopt a new mentality. It is definitely challenging, but there are still a lot of fun things to do. The teachers are awesome. They help us out so much, especially in high school. Getting to learn French is awesome. It’s been tough, but it’s like a family. It’s worth it. I’ll definitely miss it.”
The chatty, do-it-all senior stops talking, just for a moment.
“Geez now I feel like I’m going to cry!”
But she doesn’t. She hustles out of the office and, just a few minutes later, she’s in the art studio, working.