December 2014 Star Students

Every month we ask our regional staff to nominate a star student. Our students receive a special certificate for being nominated. It is a great privilege to work with these amazing students.

Star Students Archive

Skid Row Learning Center

Killiy, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Killiy, 4th Grade. Killiy walks around with a huge, toothy smile beaming below her purple rimmed eye glasses. For the two years that I have known Killiy, she has always worn glasses. As her vision continues to weaken, her resolve to learn and write continues to get stronger! Over the summer, Killiy asked for workbooks to take back to the shelter so she could practice her handwriting on her own, and she has shown tremendous improvement. Once she returned to school, she realized that her neat writing highlighted numerous spelling errors. Along with a tutor, Killiy made a plan to always write a rough draft first, then use that to check her spelling. Once her spelling is correct, she can then proudly complete her legible and error free final draft. When asked about her plan, Killiy stated, “Sometimes I don’t get a lot of free time since it takes me longer but I like getting good grades better than free time.”

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor


Region 1 – Los Angeles

Jazmin, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Jazmin, 7th Grade. My first impression of Jazmin was that she was very adorable when she said, “I want to learn cursive.” Lots of kids don’t even know the word cursive. Therefore every week we work on her cursive handwriting. We also do a “mystery object” related to the curriculum. Currently, we are working on world geography, current events and ancient history as well as improving her writing skills. Jazmin is a sweet and outgoing young lady who just wants to learn. We have faced some challenges during tutoring, like the noise level at the shelter or learning which school subjects she missed in all those years of moving from school to school. I enjoy our sessions and knowing I am making a difference in Jazmin’s life.

Way to go, Jazmin!

Pat Bayha, Tutor


Region 2 – South Los Angeles (Compton, Lynwood, Inglewood, Watts, Gardena)

Zastice, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Zastice, 1st grade. My student Zastice is in the first grade. He is a very bright young man; his favorite subject is math. It only takes one time to explain something to him before he prides himself on being able to figure the answer out by himself. He has been checking out books from the school library that excite him. Zastice likes for me to read to him, and he enjoys reading to me as well. I love working with him and look forward to Thursday’s tutoring sessions. Zastice has shown a lot of growth since I started working with him.

Margarette Crockett, Tutor


Region 3 – Westside

Bella, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Bella, 1st Grade. Spending time with Bella is one of my favorite things to do during the week. She is always so excited to see me, and we have a lot of fun learning together. I have seen such an improvement in Bella’s confidence with reading, which has been very rewarding. Bella surprises me every week with how much she remembers from our time together. I’ll leave having no idea if my lessons really stuck but when I get back the next week she’ll repeat things almost word for word! She has a great memory and her growing confidence in herself has only made it stronger. Can’t wait to see what Bella learns next!

Alison Daniel, Tutor


Region 4 – Long Beach, San Pedro

Juan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Juan, 1st grade. Juan is, aptly put, a positive ball of energy. He tackles his assignments with enthusiasm, asks me questions with boldness, and performs amazing (albeit somewhat dangerous) feats of agility when I’m not looking. Juan knows how to make me laugh, shows caring affection towards his brothers, and somehow manages to lose each pencil I brought the week prior. When I asked Juan what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied that he wanted to become an “animal scientist, so I can make animals that are half lion and half dolphin!” Although he has a long way to go, he shares an enthusiasm for math and has an interest in science. Juan and I bonded over our mutual passion for Batman; we often times play “Superheroes” outside after our sessions.

Andrew Park, Tutor


Region 5 – Echo Park, Hollywood, Highland Park, Silverlake, Mid-City

Luka, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Luka, 3rd grade . It really does take a village; I love being a part of such a caring community. My current student Luka is super smart and passionate. He is so eager to learn and already knows most of the answers. My only job seems to be giving him the confidence to realize this. I love seeing the world through his eyes. I only hope he is learning as much from me as I am from him.

Terri Czapleski, Tutor


Region 6 – West Covina, Rowland Heights, Corona/Norco, Pomona, Ontario, Upland, Chino

Ivan, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Ivan, 11th grade. Ivan is my star student this month living at a local family shelter; he is always on time for tutoring and has a great attitude. Initially Ivan was concerned about his progress in Algebra 2 and was fearful that he might do poorly on another test. I admit that I do not have an extensive knowledge of Algebra 1 and 2. So we found YouTube videos on graphing linear equations on Khan Academy’s website. We figured it out together! Ivan has been so patient, not just with me, but with the other kids – even staying to help tutor some of the younger kids after his session is over. We expect great things from Ivan in the future!

Loreena Garcia, Regional Coordinator


Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Lyann, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Lyann, 4th grade. Lyann is ten years old and in the fourth grade. She is originally from Belize and talks about the country and her family there often. She is a vivacious, curious, energetic and loving girl. She has a big family; two older sisters and an older brother who live on their own, a younger sister with whom she is very close, a baby brother and another baby sister on the way. Family is very important to Lyann.

Lyann struggles with reading and has some difficulties hearing. She can get easily frustrated but always comes back to her work and has so much to offer. Her difficulties are mainly due to a health crisis several years ago when she remembers things being easier; this makes it doubly hard for her. Even with these challenges and frustrations, her attitude is amazing and she never (ok, rarely) gives up. She truly likes school. Her favorite subjects are math and art. She is at grade level in math and is quite an artist. She is always excited to work with me and greets me with a huge hug each and every session.

Lyann pictures a bright future for herself, and I have no doubt that she will achieve it. She wants to perform as a singer and a dancer. She is very clear that she is an original and unique human being and that her individuality will serve her. She is right. She is starting ballet classes this summer (thanks to School on Wheels) and I am also working on getting her music lessons. I know that she will take whatever is put in front of her and run with it.

Nancy Dobbs Owen, Tutor


Region 8 – Ventura County

Elaine, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Elaine, 10th Grade. Since Elaine started 10th grade at a new high school, we have met every week. In the beginning, Elaine was overwhelmed by the amount of new things she had to adapt to. Everything was different at the new school; additionally she had to do all the homework from the summer during the first couple of weeks of the semester. Elaine and I took it in stride and started by doing one thing at a time. Books were read; essays were finished. Soon Elaine started to be on top of things and understand the hang of new routines, new structures and new teachers’ demands. She now seems more relaxed and completes her homework on her own; sometimes she does not have any school work that we need to look at. Now we get to talk about Elaine’s dreams for the future and create goals to get her on the right path to her dreams.

Veronica Freltoft, Tutor


Region 10 – Orange County

Andrew, School on Wheels Student of the Month

Andrew, 6th grade. “Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road? Because he didn’t have the guts!” Andrew lightens up our tutoring sessions by telling funny jokes and sharing the latest horror story, creepy pasta, or scary movie he’s found. He has even written his own horror story! It has been a challenge and a pleasure to work with Andrew, who struggles with attention and focus, and is particularly sensitive when things get stressful at home. He has improved substantially in math and is able to run through the complete 0-12 multiplication card deck in under 5 minutes. He has developed strategies for improving his focus and ability to take on multi-step problems. Andrew’s strengths include his interest in history and curiosity about what is going on in the world. He also has a great outlook on the hard work involved in tutoring. Some of his favorite sayings are, “I’m a genius!” (after getting a particularly difficult answer right) and “Ready?! I was born ready!” I am very happy to be able to work with him.

Kaia David, Tutor