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Celina Jackson

Celina Jackson, '17

From Sequoia to Spain

After fifth period comes to a close, I sit down with Mr. Rosario to debrief his English Support class. I volunteer there, at Sequoia High School, through the Haas Center's High School Support Initiative.

During the one-hour-and-40-minute period I typically work with individual students, discussing their literary analyses of Richard Wright's Black Boy and helping them pick apart the meanings of certain passages. I follow Mr. Rosario's lead in encouraging students to find parallels between the life of the narrator – a black boy in the early 20th century south – and their own lives as mostly low-income Latinx students in the Bay Area in 2017.

On the scenic drive back to Stanford along Alameda de las Pulgas, my carpool buddy and I chat about how difficult teaching is, our burning frustrations with the education system, and the inspiring moments when we connect with students or witness them realizing, "I get it."

Over the past quarter, Mr. Rosario and his ninth graders have made my Tuesday afternoons joyful, challenging, and always energizing. The experience has been deeply rewarding for me on both a personal and a career level – I will be joining the teaching field next year on a Fulbright grant in Spain! – and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate. 

Celina Jackson, '17 (Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity), was a student leader for the Haas Center’s High School Support Initiative, a program through which Stanford students tutor and mentor local high school students from historically marginalized communities.
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