Jazmine has been coming to Cluster Tutoring since the 2nd grade. But it wasn’t until the last three years, when she started tutoring with Lois Merrill, that she improved her grades enough to make the AB honor roll this year at Chicago Bulls College Prep High School, where she’s now a senior.
“My grades got better over time,” Jazmine said. “Lois has helped me a lot, especially with my writing and my math. She’s good in academics, and she’s good for when I just need someone to talk to.”
Lois said the two have concentrated on writing, stressing the importance of rewriting when a first draft needs improvement. While Jazmine has always been well organized, Lois said, she learned more about how to use her time well. “Sometimes it’s all about time management. Jazmine has definitely matured in that area.”
Much of their tutoring time is about more than just academics, Lois said. “We do a lot of talking. Every week it’s important to catch up.”
Jazmine was busy in high school, on the cheerleading squad and at a job at McDonald’s. She hopes to get a summer job to save some money for school.
Jazmine has been accepted at Central State University in Ohio and at National Louis University in Chicago, and is wait-listed at a few other schools. She’s firmly in the “undecided” camp when it comes to a major. She has some grants for next year, including a state grant and a Pell Grant, and is trying to work out the rest of the financing.
Jamzine said she appreciates all the help she’s gotten at Cluster. “I learned a lot,” she said. “If I don’t get something in school, I come here and learn it again.”
The two plan to stay in touch once Jazmine is at college. “I’m still going to call her and go on Skype with her,” Jazmine said.
But Lois has no doubts about Jazmine’s sense of purpose. “She’s the kind who makes up her mind to accomplish something, and then she does it.”
Lois said her role has evolved from that of a tutor to more of a mentor, and Jazmine agrees.
“She’s almost like a second mom to me,” Jazmine said.