Category: Star Students

Jul 8

Students of the Month – July 2020

Ariana

Age 12

Ariana’s interests are sketching, skateboarding, and animating. Ariana’s big academic challenge was math and that is where we spend most of our time. Her hopes and dreams for the future are to be in the film industry, maybe a big time producer or a voice actor. She also wants to start a makeup/beauty line. Ariana has helped me conquer my own fears and doubts. Math is my worst and least favorite subject, so when I initially heard she needed help on math, I definitely panicked a bit! But together we took it one day at a time, and it forced me to get out of my own comfort zone. Teaching is the best way to really learn something, and I have been doing a lot of that lately. I hope to have my own kids one day, sooner than later, so I have Ariana to thank for giving me a glimpse into what to expect!

This artwork (at left) is something Ariana created.

Robin Vanneman, Tutor

Crystal

Age 17

During the group sessions I lead, it is sometimes hard to keep students on track and make sure they are progressing. For Crystal though, this weekly task isn’t as hard because she is serious about learning. She is very serious, even avid, about doing classwork, and you can tell she wants to take it seriously and be taken seriously.  Currently, her dream is to graduate from high school this summer and attend Los Angeles City College in the fall. She also wants to get a job and move out on her own. She wants to start building her career before she gets married and has kids. Professionally, she wants to become an agent at the DEA or a registered nurse. Crystal loves cosmetology and is extremely good at doing makeup, and in her free time, she wants to attend cosmetology school to obtain a license so she can do side work. 

Charles Fogel, Tutor

Jasmin

Age 14

Jasmin loves Spanish poetry, speech, soccer, and cheerleading. During our time together, I’ve seen her become more confident in math and math-related skills. As Jasmin moves on to high school, one goal is to make the high school soccer team and become successful in her classes, especially math. Her long term goal is to become a Forensic Pathologist and work in Juárez, Mexico. She would like to make a big difference in the world through her career. I have learned a lot about perseverance and confidence from Jasmin. If she does not fully understand a topic, she does not hesitate to ask for clarification and if she gets a question incorrect the first time, Jasmin will go back and try until she gets it correct. Jasmin puts so much effort into producing the highest quality of work she can.

Anisha Singh, Tutor

Selena

Age 11

My student, Selena, loves the subject of language arts and loves art. She loves to draw, color, and make all kinds of crafts and projects. A big challenge that both Selena and I had to face was her struggle with math. She specifically had trouble with fractions, but now she is completely comfortable with them and the subject overall. Selena hopes to be successful and wishes to meet some of her idols that she has loved for a long time. I have learned a lot from Selena about never giving up. Although there were many tough times where some subjects seemed difficult, Selena never gave up and worked hard in order to understand in the end.

Andrew Chung , Tutor

Jun 18

2020 Graduation Spotlights

June equals graduation for students across the country. This year the celebrations have been different, to say the least. Schools got creative and hosted car parades and virtual events to celebrate students graduating from elementary school, middle school, high school and college.  

We partnered with Community Promise to celebrate School on Wheels students graduating high school this year. In addition to supporting our work with a financial contribution, they are also helping us to recognize graduating students with certificates, gift cards, and personalized gifts.

Today we want to shine a spotlight on a School on Wheels alumna graduating college, as well as two high school graduates—one a volunteer tutor and one a student.

Former student Josie graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from USC. We first met Josie when she was living at the Union Rescue Mission with her mom and sister in 2014. She says her mom is her hero because she always said, “Having an education was the only way you get anywhere and if I wanted to reach for something better, school was the way to do it!”

Eighteen-year-old volunteer tutor Lucy graduated from Laguna Blanca School and will be attending college in the fall. Lucy tutored two students at Transition House in Santa Barbara for over a year. Lucy recently worked with School on Wheels on her senior project. You can watch her video on Digital Divide here

School on Wheels student Kenneth in Orange County kept in touch with his tutor Benjamin even when in-person tutoring was canceled due to COVID-19. He said their weekly check-ins helped him to stay focused on graduating and planning for college. Kenneth will be attending Santa Ana College.

May 27

Students of the Month – June 2020

Julian

Age 13

Julian loves football and art, and is very creative. His math assessment score was low but he doubled it after six months. Trying to stay focused was a challenge; part of it was that in the beginning we had our tutoring sessions at McDonald’s, and there was a lot of distraction. Julian has had a tough life to date. His family has moved a lot, so he’s attended many schools. This kid, with all the trials and tribulations life throws at him, maintains a great attitude.

Steve Tiso, Tutor

H

Age 11

H’s favorite subjects are drawing, reading and PE. She dreams of one day becoming a surgeon or engineer. H has been through a lot in her short life, but she never gives up; I attribute this to her Mom. My time with her has made me realize that even in the worst of times, children can be fostered to have a positive attitude.

Lynn Johnson, Tutor

Jimmy & Ricky

Age 11 & 13

Both Jimmy and Ricky love playing sports! Also, Jimmy loves Captain Underpants and Ricky loves playing Fortnite. Jimmy and Ricky both struggled with reading, initially, but they have learned to read slower, enunciate clearer, understand passages better, and ultimately enjoy reading more. Jimmy wants to get better at soccer and be a soldier when he grows up. Ricky wants to either become a police officer, firefighter, or soldier. Jimmy and Ricky teach me to be more optimistic in my own life! These boys have reminded me how inherently optimistic children are. They all want to become somebody in the future and deserve to have the chance to do so.

Phillip Chung, Tutor

Bryan

Age 10

Bryan likes drawing and coloring (he drew this picture of the Coronavirus!) and would really like to have a dog one day. He even has a type of dog he would like to have; it’s a mix of pit bull and husky and it’s actually called a pitsky! We looked it up. We are making BIG steps towards learning the times table & that’s a very big deal. Bryan hopes to have a good future and do well in school. I am learning from Bryan to be patient and not ask him questions while he draws. I admire his persistence during our meetings, as well. He’s always on time and is very willing to learn new things.

Dana Altschuler , Tutor

Mar 3

Students of the Month – March 2020

Zyarre

Age 12

Zyarre and I did a fun “values” quiz together, and I think he found it illuminating. The quiz revealed that while recognition (being noticed, feeling significant in the world) is important to him, he is deeply interested in justice and helping others. He told me a story about how he welcomed a shy new student to his school, helping the other boy feel more confident. In the future, Zyarre hopes to build a meaningful and secure life that will likely involve some sort of service to others, and I find his attitude inspiring.

Suzanne Rizollo, Tutor

Moises

Age 8

Moises is 8 years old, in 2nd grade. He is a great reader, a studious learner, and approaches all the new things that come his way with determination and concentration. When he grows up Moises would like to work with lizards; he is the biggest Jurassic Park and Godzilla fan that I have met yet! For our reading time, we always set out an audience: Cat in the Hat and a stuffed dinosaur or two! I have learned from Moises that when you need to learn something new that seems difficult, approaching with a calm and studious outlook is the best way to conquer and learn! Here the dinosaurs and Cat and the Hat are helping Moises conquer double digit subtraction!

Sasana Kachirsky, Tutor

Rachel

Age 11

Rachel likes ice skating, anime, math, and making friends. She has taught me that it’s okay to be unique and comfortable with your own goofy self; she is never judgmental and always has a great attitude. Rachel enjoys talking and getting to know people, so its easy for her to drift away from her work. We’ve managed this by separating ourselves from the rest of the group during distracting times. Rachel hopes to become a psychologist because she doesn’t want kids to feel the same way she did when she was sad. If that doesn’t work out she would like to be a veterinarian.

Carlos, Tutor

Jan 27

Students of the Month – February 2020

Elijah

Age 6

Elijah is very active and loves to play sports outside! He also has a great imagination, and has no difficulty making up stories and games about cops and robbers or ninjas. Since we have multiple tutors at our sessions, our volunteers have worked on Elijah’s spelling and literacy through a team effort. One of our tutors modified board games to reinforce phonetic skills. Other times, we have been reading books, playing with flashcards, and writing storyboards for imaginary movies together. One of our young students was disappointed when I ran out of a particular coloring page, but Elijah immediately ran over with the last copy so that they could collaborate on it together. Elijah has a very bright future ahead of him! He shows me that our students are some of the most generous and altruistic.

Charlotte Kim, Tutor

Varaunica

Age 12

Varaunica likes dancing, watching movies, playing board games, and working on puzzles. Something I have really been working on with her is staying focused when concepts, particularly in math, are initially hard to grasp. The challenge is keeping her mind concentrated and her mood positive when tackling a difficult concept. I have learned patience and methods of creativity as we have tried different approaches to get a concept across or to keep my student engaged.

Gloria Brooks, Tutor

Guadalupe

Age 18

Guadalupe enjoys history, basketball, and has a passion for social awareness. I wouldn’t say Economics has been a challenge, but it is the subject we have worked on the most. Understanding certain Econ methodologies is tough for me, too! Guadalupe is very bright and I hope she continues to work hard and further her education. She has plans for college next year. When she gives me her opinions on things, it opens my mind to things I haven’t noticed or thought of. Hopefully, I’m doing the same for her.

Derrick Stephens, Tutor

CeCe (Cecelia)

Age 13

CeCe says her main interests are photography and her cats, Milo and Max. One big challenge we faced and worked on together was completing, in a short time, a math packet of various problems at many levels of difficulty. CeCe’s hopes and dreams are to graduate from college and to become an artist.

Martha Doran, Tutor

Jan 6

Students of the Month – January 2020

Matias

Age 15

Matias is a teenager who is just learning English. At first, he resisted tutoring, but eventually started to ease up. He tried harder with his reading and started asking me what words meant. He dreams of being able to understand and speak English, and really wants to just have fun like everyone else. He’s come a long way in just a few weeks, and recently gave me one of the greatest gifts of them all: his smile!

Diane Lopez, Tutor

Giselle

Age 7

Giselle loves to color. She will find every opportunity that she can to show off her creative skills, whether it be with her favorite Barbie coloring page or just free drawing. She enjoys math and loves to complete her addition-by-color worksheets. When asking Giselle what she wants to be when she grows up, she happily exclaims that she wants to be a doctor, but that’s not all. She also hopes to learn piano or become a famous singer. Giselle is an incredible student and I’ve learned so much from her. She’s a true example a student who loves to have fun with academics and she’s shown me how to have fun despite the most stressful situations. We’re incredibly thankful to be playing even a small part in her journey.

Cynthia Zapata, Tutor

Malachi

Age 10

Malachi loves to watch music videos and clips from his favorite anime on YouTube. He also does a great job of seeking out challenges: a few weeks ago, he asked to learn how to multiply big numbers! Malachi wants to be able to take care of his mom; when he wins a prize on the prize wheel, he will often ask for a grocery gift card to give to his mom. He brings a lot to tutoring; aside from a great grasp of pop culture, he tends to come in with a great deal of focus and really works on his stuff. It’s a great reminder to challenge yourself to spend time wisely.

Zahn Group Tutoring

Angel

Age 16

Angel is into music, math, and colorful hairstyles. She does well on School on Wheels modules and whatever activities I bring! She has mentioned going to college and renting her own place. With Angel, I am learning the value/importance of continued encouragement and positive reinforcement. Angel epitomizes the brilliant student who just needs that little push every now and again. I’m always amazed at how little resistance she offers up when I ask her to finish an activity, and at how quickly and thoroughly she gets tasks done.

Wisdom Ibole, Tutor