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Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2011 Essay Contest
Winner: Middle School Third Place
7th grade, Memorial Middle School, La Joya, Texas
Returning a Favor
Tutoring means a whole lot to me. I can’t explain how it has not only helped me and many others who have struggled in school with academics. I’m glad that I’m a member of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.
I, for one, struggled in school when I was younger for a very long time. But things changed dramatically for me in the second grade when a girl, Marcela*, came to help me. She helped me become a smarter and better person. To think that I was once so close to being part of the special education program. Then someone sent an angel from heaven to help me and put my future in a better path. If only I could meet her again to thank and tell her how grateful I am. Marcela was a big part of my life. Actually, she was so important to me that I suggested we name my little niece, Marcela, and my sister loved the name.
I am so glad that there is a program for young students to help out those who are struggling. When my migrant teacher told me there was a tutoring program, I knew that this was my chance to return the favor. I was up for the idea of V.Y.P to be one of my electives for seventh grade year. I remember when my first teacher told me we were going to get paid, I didn’t believe it. Now I’m getting $100 a month. However, I’m just glad that I got a chance to work with young children. My tutees are Víctor* and Carmina*. They are really smart students, but they just need the extra help. With the help of their really great and smart teacher and a fabulous tutor, I know they will crush the TAKS and be ready for next year. I have confidence in them. I feel this has been a great experience. This opportunity doesn’t come knocking on the door everyday, so I’m really lucky. I not only have such great tutees, but throughout the time, I think we have become friends. They tell me about their problems, with their friends and family. So, in other words, I’m not only their tutor, but also their friend, and a “mini Dr. Phil.” So, just like Marcela, I feel that I have made a difference in their lives.
I will always remember being part of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. I’m glad that I have changed my tutee’s life. I have helped them follow a better path so they can succeed in life. I’m grateful I was part of this experience, and not many people say that.
*name changed for privacy