Elementary students thriving with guidance from high schoolers
Excerpt from WFAA.com
DALLAS — Every student at Nathan Adams Elementary in Dallas has big dreams and even bigger obstacles.
The school is in a high poverty area, and more than half the students can’t read at grade level.
“If a child can’t read by third grade, it really holds them back and that means as far as into college,” said Nathan Adams community liaison Micaela Luna Gomez said.
So, to help students down the road, they looked down the road. Less than a mile away, many students at W.T. White High School’s Collegiate Academy want to be teachers.
Twice a week, they visit Nathan Adams to help read.
United to Learn, a nonprofit that brings together students and the community to improve education, started the program.
“I love working with these kids,” said senior mentor Silvia Garcia. “Being able to build that relationship inside the classroom, it’s great. I love it.”
“I was like them,” senior mentor Alison Arias said. “I can help them be better.”
When Arias immigrated from Honduras eight years ago, she couldn’t speak a word of English. Today, she’s not only fluent, but excelling in school.
Arias said if she came this far without a tutor, imagine how much further these students can go.
“My dreams can come true,” one student said.
And they are. Scores have gotten better – nearly doubled – and the future has gotten brighter.
Six-year-old Maya Leal wants to help people like the high school mentors have helped her.
“[I want to be] a tutor,” Leal said.
This program, though, was never just about reading. It’s about writing their own story, and writing thank you notes. The kids recently delivered cards to homes nearby, just to say thank you for being our neighbor.
“It just helps build a stronger community,” Garcia said.
“And the kids were able to work together with the tutors to do that,” Luna Gomez said. “So they’re learning that being part of something bigger than just your school is important.”
Communities thrive when everyone is united to learn.
For more information on United to Learn, visit https://www.unitedtolearn.org/.