A Day in a Life with TAG
On Tuesday, July 29th, Demaris, a guest photographer, and I followed TAG students around for an entire day. We followed students as they engaged in English, Math, Science, and Study skills classes. TAG students are divided into two groups SPELL and EXCEL. Each group follows a different curriculum that pertains to the students’s academic ability.
The students in EXCEL improve their interpersonal skills and prepare for the following school year, while SPELL is for students who want to improve their English skills. Demaris followed Luis Starling Pena, a student from SPELL. Luis was a quiet, but very hard working kid in his classes. He has been part of TAG for 2 years and his favorite part of the program are the outdoor activities. He also told Demaris his most memorable part of the program was working with other students and staff. Luis stated “Each of the teachers really took the time to help me and the other students because they want to see us succeed.” Demaris was very surprised to hear this because usually students only remember the fun activities they have at their program.
As for me, I got to follow Mercedes Paulina, a bright and energetic student in the EXCEL group, where students learn hot to find their voice. In study skills, there was a guest speaker known by the name “Optimist” who had a deep connection with Mercedes because he was once her mentor at her school.
The class and Optimist also sung “Long Shot,” a song about how many people incorrectly think it’s a “long shot” for people of color to achieve their dreams. After Sudy Skills, we attended Mercedes’ English class, and she wrote a short essay about how she identifies with the book Drown by Junot Diaz. It was very interesting what Mercedes told me -“My relation to this book was that my father was never there, and just like the main character his father was never there.” As she continued, she talked about being a proud Dominican and even though she is living in America, and wants to stay close to her culture.
Overall, it was a pleasure to cover TAG and their students. Demaris and I were very honored to be a part of their life that day. We got to learn so much about TAG students!