It was beginning to look like Elijah Scott’s plan to graduate high school on schedule might get derailed. But that was before the tutors at Jericho’s after-school program had anything to say about it.
After the 17-year-old failed geometry in his sophomore year and then missed one deadline that was part of his summer school make-up course, S.A.Y. Yes! Learning Center tutors kicked into high gear to help Elijah complete the intense web-based test regimen that would, hopefully, result in a “Pass” and put him back on track… and achieve one of Jericho’s main objectives: to ensure students graduate from high school.
Tutor Dewey Strohmeyer spent many hours with Elijah, a Danbury High School junior, working through geometry problem after geometry problem – and coping with frustrating website crashes that resulted in Elijah having to retake large chunks of the assignments and tests. But even with that stressor, the duo forged on – working together up to four hours a day, twice a week since October 2017 (with a holiday break) – until Elijah completed the final test a couple of weeks ago.
“Even when S.A.Y. Yes was closed, or school was closed, we still met, trying to get it all done in time,” Elijah said.
Their persistence paid off. Elijah scored a solid B in his course.
“We were all doing the happy dance when we heard he passed!” said Tutor Sue Lamb, who spent time working with Elijah on the days Dewey wasn’t at the Center. “Obviously we wanted Elijah to be successful. Everyone was very excited and proud of him for all his hard work.”
Dewey also praised Elijah’s persistence in working through a high volume of work. “I don’t know how they expected anyone to plod along without help,” he said.
Elijah, who wants to study computer science in college, said he was very grateful for the way his tutors supported him. “I appreciate them a lot,” he said. “I’m glad they were able to help me understand things I didn’t understand. Some people wouldn’t be able to take their personal time to help. They took time out and managed to make sure I succeeded.”
Dewey has been tutoring at S.A.Y. Yes! since 2014, when he retired from his job as a high school math teacher in Weston. “After I retired, I thought the Lord had continued to bless me with gifts and energy and experience,” he said. “There was an expectation that I would use what He’d given me.”