A Life-Changing Impact

Jin Ellington is the Campus Director at  Lowe's Grove Middle School in Durham, NC. Under Jin's leadership, Lowe's Grove won Citizen Schools' 'Most Improved Campus' Award in 2010. She joined the Citizen Schools Teaching Fellowship after graduating Duke University in 2008. 

Robert is an unforgettable student.

He’s one of those people that the first time you meet him, you automatically know that you will like him. This is largely due in part to his personality – outgoing, genuine, and absolutely hilarious! (If you could compare Robert to any celebrity, it would be Chris Farley).

On top of that, he is also an amazing public speaker who is the most articulate and poised 8th grader you will ever meet. And finally, add to the mix the fact that he’s an A/B student who gets his homework done, participates in lessons, leads his fellow classmates, and supports other students, you have the perfect student all teachers dream of having.

So needless to say, I was in absolute shock the day his mother explained to me that it wasn’t always so. Robert was once a fairly shy young man who wasn’t very confident in his leadership abilities. Not only that, but he started middle school with C’s and D’s. She shared with me that in 6th grade, he would come home afterschool and attempt to complete his homework, though most of the time rather unsuccessfully. Then when she arrived home after work, they would continue to work together – sometimes until midnight when they would finally call it quits, completed or not, because it was just too late. Throughout that year, tears fell, arguments ensued, energies expended, and still the results did not improve.

According to Robert’s mom, Citizen Schools was the changing factor. It provided him the academic support he needed to get his homework done on time and with quality. The program also provided him the opportunity to explore different careers through the apprenticeships and to develop his confidence with oral presentation opportunities.

Citizen Schools can be and is a transformative experience for students. All students have the potential; some just need a little extra push to set them on the path to achieving their dreams.

Do you want to help put students like Robert on the path to success? Consider applying for the Teaching Fellowship, a life-changing experience for you and students.