TAG T-shirt Day Talk & Tour with TA

TAG T-shirt Day Talk & Tour with TA

Thursday, July 13th was the Talent and Gifted (TAG)’s T-Shirt day. T-Shirt Day at TAG allows new and returning students to wear the T-shirts they own from TAG  throughout the years. I did get a chance to see a speck of yellow/gold in the pool of blue t-shirts.

TAG students sit along the cement steps.

TAG students sit along the cement steps for lunch.

During lunch, I ran into Douglas Matute, an alumnus of the program who has come back to the program as a middle school math TA and an instructor for the photography workshops in the evening.

How and when did Douglas join TAG? 

Douglas has been with the program for 5 years; his family moved here to the United States from Honduras in 2012. During the time of his transition to the new country, his stepmother was looking for programs to enroll him in. It was not until his family came across the Talent and Gifted Latino program that they found a community that would foster a positive growing environment. What really captivated their attention was the program’s mission to help smoothen the transition of one’s journey through language, education, and overall culture.

What was Douglas like as a student and how did he become a TA?

Within six months participating in the TAG program, Douglas moved from ESL level 1 to level ESL 5, he chuckled and said he’s like a sponge. What got him to come back the following year was the TAG Saturday Academy. The Saturday Academy is a program that provides students with Math and English classes along with tutoring. As a rising junior in high school, Douglas had the opportunity to be a math TA. Douglas Matute is now a rising sophomore at UMass Dartmouth majoring in Astrophysics. 

Douglas has gotten internships with:

  • A photography firm, where he enjoyed learning more about his hobby.
  • EResearch Technology (ERT), where Douglas got hands-on experience with computer science developing software.
  • An observatory, where he studied clusters of stars and black holes. 
Douglas sits on cement steps.

Douglas sits on cement steps during lunch before the Photography Workshop he facilitates as one of the activities.

While we sat on the steps, he walked me through his years at TAG, the classes the students are taking. The students are generally split into two groups (SPELL & EXCEL), depending on what ESL level the student is on. Students who are in the SPELL are the ones that are getting acclimated to this country. The students in EXCEL are the ones who are in ESL levels 5 and above. 


The left side of the wall consists of seven blocks of paper that help with starting a sentence. One of them say “I am confused about ______because ______. The right wall consists of vocabulary words in orange and green cards. The vocabulary wall contain the words: cognate, independence, healthy and government.

The learning wall for ESPELL students


Diagonal shot of the blackboard with three big poster papers with vocabulary words hanging on the left side.

What one of ESPELL classrooms look like.

Students practice taking portraits of each other in classroom.

Students practice taking portraits of each other in the classroom.

Group of three students pose in classroom desks!

Students sit and wait as their TAs and peers pick a movie to watch a movie for Thursday’s class.

Students in the photography workshop class have already

  • Gone through a mini training on photography through a presentation put together by Douglass
  • Learned how to use studio black background
  • Taken portraits of each other
  • Explored Microphotography

After I gave the Photography Workshop class a visit, I checked out the Bachata group to see what they were up to. Douglas walked me over to the classroom where the other TA’s Jasmine and  Justin were teaching the students bachata.


Students stand and sit in circle as two students practice their steps for bachata.

Vanessa, one of the TAs from TAG teaches students how to dance bachata!

Two male students are in the middle of the dance floor while everybody else watches.

TAG students begin their bachata dance lessons taught by TA Jasmine who is in the middle of the floor meticulously watching steps.

TAG students get into pairs

The TAG students split up into two groups and start dancing in pairs!

TAG students start dancing in pairs

TAG students start dancing in pairs while Jasmine goes around to instruct!

AG boys dance in the hall

While half of the students stay in the room, the other half went outside in the hallway to practice.

Will you “TAG” along with us next summer, as a student, TA or someone who’s simply visiting the page? If so, stay tuned to see what other activities the students are up to this summer!