Jesse – Holy Family

My teachers had a growth mindset. They said I could get better and I could do better as long as I tried…and they were right. I know because it happened! —  Jesse, 11th Grader.

As a young student at Holy Family, Jesse struggled to read.  His teachers gave him individual attention, coping strategies and encouragement. They paid attention to the kinds of books he enjoyed and suggested similar topics. Jesse developed a love of reading. By fourth grade he was reading at grade level. As a freshman he tested at college reading level. Jesse is currently a junior at DePaul Cristo Rey High School. He said he still doesn’t read fast, but he does read a lot, and he loves it. Jesse is exploring options for his future which most definitely include college. Thanks to CISE and donors like you, Jesse received the help he needed to overcome his reading struggles and is on a path to a successful future!

Research tells us that reading for pleasure is a strong indicator of the future success of a child. The research findings conclude that a good foundation in reading facilitates success in specialized education during higher education or during job-related training.

Some of Jesse’s favorite books are Outsiders, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird

MiKayla – St. Boniface School

“I really like my school because the students, teachers and staff are welcoming, and everyone is nice to each other.”   

MiKayla is in 8th grade and has been attending St. Boniface School in Northside since fourth grade. Two of MiKayla’s seven siblings also attend St. Boniface. She is excited about attending Mercy-McAuley next year as a freshman.  She is a little nervous to start high school but mostly she is looking forward to making many new friends. 

One of MiKayla’s proudest moments at St. Boniface was when she was awarded the Blaze Award, which is given to only one student in middle school for being kind and respectful to others. MiKayla likes to help people and someday aspires to be a doctor. She specifically wants to work with children.

Science and language arts are two of MiKayla’s favorite subjects. She likes language arts “because it is exciting to learn new words I didn’t even know existed!” She has not always been an avid reader, but she recently began reading books by Stephen King, and it makes her want to read more and more. As soon as she finishes a book, she goes to the library to find another! 

MiKayla has made so many good friends at St. Boniface. She said, “I really like my school because the students, teachers and staff are welcoming, and everyone is nice to each other.”   

One of her goals is to become more outgoing and sociable as she enters high school. She said she thinks she is a little bit shy when meeting new people. As a Blaze Award recipient, MiKayla has already demonstrated her kindness and respect for others. These characteristics will serve her well in high school and beyond.

Zalman – St. Boniface School

“Every day at St. Boniface School,  I learn new things and the teachers are preparing me to succeed in high school.”

Zalman is in 6th grade at St. Boniface School in Northside. His very first memory of St. Boniface was when he was in kindergarten. He was very shy, and he didn’t want to take off his hat because he had dreads. His teacher told him he could leave it on or take it off whenever he felt like it. She made him feel comfortable and welcome and he came out of his shell, (and took off his hat). Because of her unconditional acceptance, she remains one of his favorite teachers.

When Zalman was in 5th grade he was nervous about stepping up to middle school classes. He said his teacher, Mrs. Chandler, helped him prepare and made the transition easier. 

Zalman’s favorite subjects are math and science. He said, “they go well together.” He also likes to read. His favorite books when he was little were Dr. Seuss books, but he has progressed to reading about marine life.  Zalman explained, “The school library has books about marine life. I can read them and discuss what I learned with my teachers.” He said he loves reading about the ocean and learning about ocean life.  He likes it so much, in fact, that he plans to become a marine biologist, specializing in marine mammal life. “The fish and ocean are peaceful,” he said, “and you get to swim around in the water”.   

Zalman has won many athletic awards, including the one he is most proud of; a three-point shooting contest. He tried playing football but decided to focus on basketball. He plays on St. Boniface’s basketball team and summer league at the Friars Club .  

 Zalman is grateful for his education at St. Boniface school because, “every day I learn new things and the teachers are preparing me to succeed in high school.”

He has not decided where he will attend high school yet, but he is looking forward to the challenge and feels confident he will succeed.  

Marley – St. Boniface School

Marley is a 4th grader at St. Boniface School in Northside. This is her first year at St. Boniface School and feels very welcome.  She has made many new friends. In fact, in her own words, “I’m practically friends with all of my class!” When asked what two things she likes most about St. Boniface, Marley responded, “I like that my teachers believe in God and I learn new things every day.” She also likes the fact that all the students are together in one building, which is different than her other school. Right now, her teacher is using money to teach division which she thinks is fun.   

Marley’s favorite teacher is Mrs. Lawrence because, “she is funny and makes the class laugh.” Her favorite subjects are reading and spelling. This is no surprise because Marley’s r reading level is above that of most other scholars in her class. Right now, her favorite books to read are the Harry Potter series. She has already read the first two!

Marley is an active young lady also. She walks to McKee Community Center’s after-school program every day where she stays until her parents get off work. When asked how long it takes, she laughed, “It’s only a five-minute walk for me, but those kids in the back of the line make it a ten-minute walk!” Marley likes to swim and is on the PCY Tigers Shark team. At her last competition she swam in six events! She loves swimming so much that she wants to be a professional swimmer when she grows up. She is also in the school band and hopes to one day learn to play advance notes on the trombone.