Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya Albert Wat

What special events and activities does the Center for Social Justice or the D.C. Schools Project have planned for the holidays?

Every year, D.C. Schools Project organizes a holiday party for the tutors and tutees of the program on campus. We usually have some food, arts and crafts activities (gingerbread houses is a must) and performances by Georgetown student groups. In fact, we just held the event this past Sunday. This year, the Phantoms sang some Christmas songs, the Hoya Break Squad showed off their moves and Ritmo y Sabor gave the kids a salsa lesson.

The Center for Social Justice is also hosting a holiday party of its own. All students, faculty and staff are welcome. It’s on Dec. 4, from 3-5 p.m.

In your current position at Georgetown, what has been your most rewarding experience?

That’s a tough one. I’m going to cheat and tell you a few. Sometimes, it’s just simply seeing or hearing a tutor hitting it off with his/her tutee and really getting into the tutoring session, especially when progress had been elusive. Because the program has been around for 20 years, once in a while, I’d meet or get calls from parents who were tutored by D.C. Schools themselves. Some of them now want tutors for their kids. It’s rewarding to know that the program has such deep roots in the community. Finally, I was at the “graduation ceremony” of the Parent Program, our adult ESL program, this past Saturday. At the end of the semester, we give certificates to all the adult students to recognize their hard work. One of the students actually got up to the podium and thanked all the Georgetown students who volunteered as teachers for the program. That was amazing. Finally, working with college students – especially my coordinators – is half the fun. I’m constantly energized, entertained and even inspired by them.

What do you think are the most important issues of social justice that need to be addressed in this country?

My passion has always been education and the inequities in the system. Our public education system has the potential to give everyone access to opportunities and success. The flip side of that, of course, is that inequities in the system is the root of so many injustices in our country. It’s so sad that just because a kid has a certain skin color or lives in a certain neighborhood, his or her future could be so much more limited. It’s random and yet, also systematic. And it’s not that public schools are failing, as some people like to point out all the time. It’s just that we don’t have the will to create a more equal system.

Do you think the Georgetown community tends to be isolated to some extent from some of the problems of the outside world?

Yes, in some ways. One way that D.C. Schools tutors like to describe their experience is getting out of the Georgetown “bubble.” I think constantly being surrounded by million-dollar homes and stores like J. Crew, French Connection and Dean and Deluca does do something to one’s perspective. But Georgetown does offer a lot of opportunities – at the Center for Social Justice and at other departments and organizations – that help students, faculty and staff broaden their perspective at least a little.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish/food?

Stuffing.

What was your favorite holiday as a kid?

Christmas, which is strange, because I’m not Christian. I just remember having a blast playing games, sharing meals and just hanging out with my family, aunts, uncles and cousins.

What is your favorite holiday movie?

As much as I didn’t understand what Meg Ryan saw in Billy Crystal, I’d have to say When Harry Met Sally.

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