EJ Updates

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Meet Molly and Brenda

Two years ago, fifth grader Brenda struggled through almost every academic course she took.

“Before I started tutoring I didn’t really get to school that much,” Brenda explained. “I moved from house-to-house between my mom and my grandparents. I had a lot going on that distracted me from school.”

With the help of her family, Brenda applied to be an EJ Achiever.

At the same time, Molly, a 9th grade student at Louisville Collegiate School, was searching for a way to make a difference in her community. After hearing about the EJ Activists program, she immediately signed up.

In the fall of 2016, Brenda chose Molly to be her tutor.

Fast-forward to today, Brenda is excited for tutoring every week. The main reason? “Getting to see one of my best friends,” Brenda said as she hugged Molly. “Whenever I came here at first, I didn’t want to come to tutoring because it took time out of my weekends, but now we’ve become such great friends, like sisters. She’s the older sister that I’ve never had.”

Now in the 7th grade, Brenda balances her advanced 8th grade math class, swim practice, maintaining good grades, and being an active member of the robotics club. Last year, she even made honor roll.

However, Molly points out that Brenda isn’t the only one who is benefitting from their tutoring sessions.

“It’s a lot more than just tutoring,” the high school junior said. “She really does feel like a little sister to me. I feel like I can help her in more than just school.”

Tearing up, Molly described what she’ll miss most about their sessions once she graduates. “I’m going to miss seeing Brenda every week…It’s going to be sad and an adjustment, but I’m also excited to see what she does in high school. We’ll definitely keep in touch.”

Brenda said she plans to become an Activist when she reaches high school. “I want to be like Molly,” Brenda says. “I want to be a tutor too because it’s helped me so much. Maybe I’ll be able to help someone else.”

“Where are They Now?” With Aboubacar Cherif

This week we are excited to feature Aboubacar Cherif as part of our “Where Are They Now?” series!

Aboubacar is one of our EJ Scholars alumni who has continued his exceptional academic journey.

He graduated from Central High School back in 2015 and is currently in his senior year at Dartmouth College, majoring in Psychology. After a gap year, he plans on going to medical school.

We caught him in the middle of his third term off. However, he is using this time to do research for his psychology thesis. Aboubacar is the type of person who loves exploring every subject, but his psychology classes in particular caught his interest. He said he found himself going through his psychology textbooks outside of class. His passion and curiosity for psychology really shone through during our interview.

“I would almost always be ahead when it came to the chapters just because I could relate to it so much,” he said. “I could see the practicality of the things that we were learning about, both ourselves and our immediate communities, and the way our communities are structured.”

We’re glad that he has found his passion. Keep up the amazing work!

Here are some parting words of wisdom from Aboubacar. “Find your passion and really pursue it. If you are pursuing something that is not your passion, you will never truly be great at it. Money doesn’t matter because money follows success and success follows passion. Therefore, follow your passion and truly devote your time in it.

Tutoring pair Maddie and Victor were recently featured in an article by Insider Louisville.

Now in their third and final year together, Maddie has helped Victor improve his grades in school and has encouraged Victor’s newfound love of reading, which includes City of Ember and The Hobbit.

Learn more about the pair and the EJ Activists program here.

Where Are They Now?” With Lillian Papalia

EJ Activists Alum Lillian Papalia graduated from Kentucky Country Day last spring and is currently in her first year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). We were lucky to get a hold of her despite her busy class schedule to see what she’s up to now. She even gave some advice for current Activists!

EJ Staff: How’s your semester going?

Lilly: “It’s going really well. The classes, they’re hard, but it’s manageable. I think I adjusted pretty well to college. It’s kinda hard being far away from home at first, but I still talk to my family a lot. So, yeah, it’s been good.”

EJ Staff: What classes are you taking this semester?

Lilly: “I’m taking single variable calculus, physics 1 so it’s just mechanics, material science chemistry, so it’s about solid state chemistry. And then I’m taking a class called the film experience, which is like my English class. We watch movies and then write about the style of the movie and the different scenes. Also, I’m in a seminar that only meets once a week. It’s about how the planets formed using geology. So it’s pretty cool.”

EJ Staff: Do you have any advice for current Activists?

Lilly: “Sometimes it was frustrating when my Achiever wouldn’t understand what I was trying to explain no matter how hard I was trying to explain it. I think it’s important to keep in mind to not get frustrated with them. Also, plan the lessons out before you get there! That’s a very good thing to do. Make sure you always have work to do in case your Achiever doesn’t bring homework. Come prepared every time.“

Meet Alan & Mauricio

Initially, it seemed that Mauricio and Alan could not be more different. Alan likes soccer. Mauricio is a huge basketball fan.

Academics have been at the center of Alan’s life for as long as he can remember. Mauricio just recently realized his interest in science.

Alan, a senior in high school, has tutored Mauricio through Educational Justice Activists for the past year and a half.

Since Mauricio started tutoring, school has gotten a lot easier for the 7th grader. “My grades were bad in the beginning, and they’ve gotten better now. It makes me feel good and it makes my parents happy,” he said with a laugh. Mauricio said he likes having Alan as a tutor because he’s smart, kind, and he keeps Mauricio on track.

During tutoring sessions, Alan keeps Mauricio excited about learning. “I like to pique his interest, especially with things he likes outside of the classroom too, so, sports in particular.” Reading Sports Illustrated together has become a staple in their tutoring sessions.

According to Alan, Mauricio is not the only one to benefit from participating in the EJ Activists program. With a lifelong passion for education, as well as making a change in his community, Alan said once he learned about Educational Justice he realized that he could make a difference doing something he knew was important.

“Very seldom do you find that programs actually foster the change that you want to see, and I think this is one of those programs,” Alan stated.

Previously, Alan planned to pursue a career in the medical field, but after being an EJ Activist he says that he’s quite interested in becoming an educator.

“This is one of the activities that a high school student can undertake to really form their path,” Alan said.

As this is Alan and Mauricio’s last year together in the EJ Activists program, they agree they are sad for it to end, but excited for what the future holds.

“I hope that Mauricio and I keep in touch,” Alan expressed. “Who knows a few years down the line where we’ll both be. But I think it’s going to be really exciting to see how successful he’s going to end up in high school and beyond.”