Adrian & Steve: A Story of Mutual Admiration
Adrian and Steve connected quickly. They both shared a Hispanic background as well as a good sense of humor. Adrian was the class clown and Steve was the volunteer academic mentor assigned to “keep him focused.”
As they were preparing for an upcoming math test one week, Adrian was distracted during their group work session. He struggled with the pre-test. Steve remembers telling him that if he would quit clowning around and pay attention, he might have an easier time understanding the problems. In an instant, Adrian began to cry. Steve, caught off guard by this behavior, asked him what was wrong. Adrian explained that wanted to be the funniest kid in the class, but there was competition for this spot. Steve had the opportunity to share with him his experience growing up- he had been a funny kid, but was a smart kid, too. “Don’t you want to be both?” he asked Adrian. “You can be both. I was.”
A few months later, Steve visited the class as they prepared for the MCAS. Adrian had just completed a writing exercise. Adrian shared with Steve the paragraph he had written.
There’s a guy named Steve. He comes to help me with my math during his lunch two times a week, even though I sometimes don’t deserve it.
Steve was stunned. He was not expecting Adrian’s essay to be written about him.
He went on to read Adrian’s words about how he had helped him in math and how much he liked having him as a friend and a tutor.
Steve noticed that Adrian was working harder than ever, seemingly trying to impress him. As the year progressed, he watched Adrian’s test scores rise. The teacher reported at the end of the school year a dramatic increase in Adrian’s scores. Adrian wasn’t just focused on being the funny kid anymore; he was focused on working hard and being the smart kid.
Adrian is one of many students who have gained knowledge, motivation, and confidence because he was matched with a volunteer academic mentor. Thanks to their working together over the year, both Adrian and Steve gained admiration and built a positive relationship, benefitting each other.