The most important lesson that graduating senior A’meena has gained from Cluster Tutoring is that she is always learning something new.
A’meena was understandably frustrated to attend school remotely during her senior year at Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, although she attended in person second semester on a hybrid schedule. “That was very disappointing because I wasn’t able to enjoy my senior year and enjoy it with my classmates,” she said. At least her graduation ceremony will be in person.
But she was still able to attend weekly tutoring sessions over Zoom with her tutor, Alex McLeese, who has tutored A’meena since she was in 6th grade. “My favorite part has been developing a continuous relationship over so many years and watching A’meena grow over that time,” he said.
“I always enjoy our tutoring sessions because A’meena is such a good worker,” Alex said. “She’s always ready to study, she always has a positive attitude, and she always wants to use the whole time to do productive work.
“A’meena has really worked hard at math, spending countless hours practicing, using workbooks and online tools, and she has made great progress in that subject.”
That hard work paid off. “I was able to see changes with my grades,” A’meena said. She especially appreciated Alex’s help with math and literature, and his assistance in applying to colleges.
An extra bonus for A’meena was learning more about one of Alex’s passions: fighting climate change. “Alex would always have some stories to tell about the environment changes and the plans he would like to see done,” she added.
She kept busy during high school with a part-time job at Jewel. She also worked two summers as an aide in Cluster’s Summer Reading Program.
A’meena applied to 15 colleges and was accepted to all of them. She will attend Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in the fall, where she plans to major in biology. “I always wanted to go out of state for school and go to Alabama A&M University, which was always my dream school,” she said, adding that she was accepted there, too. “But COVID shows that I should be closer to my family.” She will live in a dorm and share a bathroom with her suitemates. While SIU doesn’t require COVID vaccinations, A’meena isn’t worried, because she’s already fully vaccinated.
SIU might be in state, but it’s still about six hours away from Chicago. That’s quite a journey for a student who has been attending Cluster Tutoring since she was in 2nd grade and who, in the words of her tutor, “has grown much more confident over the years.”