Maria was bewildered with the array of Greek symbols laid out before her. “I just don’t see why we can’t use normal letters,” she confusedly declared. “Just say them out loud in your head and then substitute them into the equation,” I replied. After confusing the Greek lower-case delta and the Roman d a few more times, Maria was finally able to calculate the acceleration of projectile objects and had finished her physics homework for the week. Her smile conveyed both of our senses of accomplishment that afternoon.

Successes like this occur often at the Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Md. We, the Cristo Rey Tutoring Club, travel the 12-mile, one-hour trek each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to help these children succeed in both academia and life. With the vast majority coming from impoverished backgrounds, these students are not just here to get by with a diploma; every single DBCR student works one day during the school week to help pay at least 50 percent of his or her private school tuition. (In fact, you may have even run into a few right here at Georgetown.) This corporate discipline translates into an above-average amount of initiative and accountability demonstrated by these young men and women on a daily basis, both in and out of school.

Unlike our larger on-campus competitors, CRT constitutes just a small group of 15-20 students per semester. We prefer this number since most tutors form strong relationships with the DBCR students that last throughout their high school careers. This upcoming semester, we plan on expanding our mission from the academic sphere into the high school’s extracurricular activities. We fulfill our mission every single day we tutor, and the students’ grades only increase with each visit.

The next week, Maria and I sat down and studied for her psychology test the next day. “Wait, how do you say this name again?” “Freud,” I warmly reminded her. She sighed, but I knew she would eventually reach her goal of an A- that quarter.

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