Help crossing the line

Published 9:47 pm Monday, February 8, 2016

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Folks at Greater First Baptist Church of Orlando, on Factory Street, have taken the admonition seriously and are working with teens from local high schools to help them pass the classes and the tests they need to pass in order to graduate.

The tutoring program was the brainchild of Lakeland High School graduation coach Betty Twitty and the church’s pastor, the Rev. Moses Ware. Twitty saw some students at Lakeland struggling to achieve the results they needed on their Standards of Learning tests and realized the school’s remediation program was not enough to meet the needs of some students.

What they needed, she figured, was support from within their own neighborhood, and the church was the perfect place from which to offer that support. “If you can walk there, what’s the excuse?” she said recently in an interview with News Editor Tracy Agnew.

Email newsletter signup

Twitty has recruited a cadre of tutors, including Ware, to help a handful of students committed to spending a couple of hours on Saturdays since December, working on the subjects they’ve been struggling with in school.

Sometimes, the difference between failure and “getting it” for a student is simply the repetition afforded by those extra hours on Saturdays. Sometimes it’s just a matter of hearing the subject matter presented in a different manner than they’ve experienced previously. Sometimes the personal attention of a tutor helps flip the switch to turn on the light.

For Demetreus Walker, one of the first success stories from the program, some combination of those factors has been in play. Walker, who needed to pass the math and English Standards of Learning tests in order to graduate, has benefited from Ware’s approach to teaching algebra, and he is receiving direct help from Assistant Pastor Betty Montgomery to improve his writing skills in advance of the March SOL tests.

The program is growing and in need of more tutors. You might have the knowledge and skills to help these and other students cross the finish line at graduation. For more information about the program and how to help, email Twitty at bettytwitty@spsk12.