One month ago today we dreamed of having a small scale morning tuition program to help some of our struggling students with their school work. One month and over sixty students across five tuition periods later, our small scale tuition period has evolved into an engagement system built upon the goal of sustainability through student leadership. The launch of the morning, and then afternoon tuition programs marked a transition for GVI from providing support to a select group of struggling students during school, to becoming a fixture of encouragement and enrichment for the whole school.
The priorities of our planning process were to promote Spoken English, conduct fun but controlled lessons and cultivate a league of student leaders who would eventually take over the program. Each session was designed to introduce various teaching approaches and highlighting the student’s ability embrace and behave well during these new experiences. As the program grew, we realized the role of our student leaders through the GVI Excellence Card. The cardholders club has representatives from all ages, and academic levels and is based on leadership of and involvement in tuition programs. Despite the heartbreak of not granting a card to all students on the first day, and the trying decline of a pizza bribe, the pride in each students face when they earn their card is overwhelming.
We wanted to make a quiet, supportive space for homework and test prep and have achieved these small sessions in addition to jeopardy style test preps hosted by student quiz masters. Monday afternoon’s students board the GVI aircraft and “Fly with GVI,” through a weekly 15 minute multimedia presentation given about a volunteer; where they have traveled, what they do at home or any other topic of their choosing. Song day produced a student lead choir of more than fifty eager voices. Creativity and imagination pop up in our Tuesday creative speaking and writing classes and the grooves flow through Wednesday Zumba classes lead via videos made by a past volunteer.
Last week our school principle said when she talks with us all of the stress leaves her body. She said she and the teachers are tired and when they see us believing in the kids and trying new ways of teaching, despite the mild riots which may happen, it gives her energy to keep believing in them. Everyday has not been smooth or gone according to plan, sometimes we have uncertain steps and complete missteps, but what is import is that we keep looking to the kids. They came and supported our new tuition program even though it meant more school work and less nap time, they brought their friends, took leadership roles even when it was not all fun and games. They stuck by us, so you can bet we are going to stick by them.
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