Student Spotlight: “Saga had my back”

Every year, Saga teams in New York City work hard to set their students up for success before they take the standardized Regents Examinations. This year, high school senior Donald got an extra boost of confidence that made all the difference during his exam.

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Donald was a senior in high school when he entered Saga’s Math Lab for the first time. His mission was to prepare for the Algebra 1 Regents exam—which he had failed three times—so that he could receive his high school diploma. Like many of his peers, Donald had fallen through the cracks. He also, at the time, was taking Geometry, a class that would not help him prepare for Algebra Regents.

When Donald met the Saga Site Director at Math Lab, they talked about his goals. The Site Director told Donald the goal of Saga is to support him as a whole student. So, they could work on Geometry together, or they could support him in studying and learning Algebra.

When the Site Director asked Donald if it would be okay to focus on Algebra 1, Donald’s response said it all: “Yes, ma’am.” Donald and his Fellow, Mr. Ramudit, worked together for the remainder of the semester. Donald took the Algebra 1 Regents exam in January. Before the exam, Mr. Ramudit gave him a gift bag decorated specifically for him, filled with goodies, a few school supplies, and most importantly, a personalized note of encouragement.

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The week after Regents, Donald walked to his school’s Math Department Office where he encountered the Math AP. He got down on his knees, clutched his hands together, and said, “Ms. you have to tell me how I did.” The final result: He passed!

Donald immediately headed downstairs to the Saga classroom where normal tutorials were in full swing for second semester. His Fellow and most of the other Fellows in the room had already been briefed on student Regent scores, and were aware that Donald had passed. When he walked into the room, and the usual dull murmur of student learning went quiet as Fellows and students saw him enter.

Like a scene from a movie, the Fellows began clapping, as did some of the students. Mr. Ramudit stood up from his tutorial and approached Donald. There ensued an awkward man hug with the clasping of hands and pounding each other on the back. Both Donald and Mr. Ramudit had tears in their eyes.

“Thank you,” said Donald. He turned to the Site Director and said, “Ms. I knew Saga had my back.” He then turned and looked back at his Fellow, “And I read your note three times before I walked into that test.”