From WITS Student to High School Scholar

Sara MartinezMission & Outcomes, Programs, Student & Mentor Spotlight

From WITS Student to High School Scholar

Meet Diamond–a bright sophomore at De La Salle Institute who is not only conquering her studies but also the many extracurricular activities she participates in. She is in honors French, is involved in her school plays, is on the softball team, and is the track team’s assistant coach.

Before all this, Diamond attended LEARN Hunter Perkins College Prep Elementary School. At LEARN, she participated in the WITS Workplace Mentoring program with DePaul University from fifth through sixth grade. “I wouldn’t be the student I am at De La Salle today if it wasn’t for the WITS program,” she reflects. Learn more about how Diamond’s experience at WITS helped shape her high school experiences.

What was your experience as a WITS student like?

“My experience was amazing, my mentor Dorothy was awesome. Annie, the WITS staff member, brought life to everything. The way she conducted herself was awesome, there wasn’t a dull moment.”

“After school I was always like, ‘I’m going to WITS mom, see you later! I’m going to have fun!’ It was just amazing. You know how certain students don’t want to go to things after school because they are tired or had a bad day? Well, even if I was having a bad day going to WITS made my day phenomenal—my day ended on the best note ever.”

What are some of your favorite WITS memories?

“My favorite memories from WITS was reading books and actually finishing them. I never really read a book before going to WITS.”

“Another favorite experience is the connection I built with other mentors. Even though Dorothy was my only mentor, it wasn’t like I couldn’t go to other mentors and ask them for help or interact with them. Everyone was just really friendly and everyone conducted themselves very nicely.”

How did your time as a WITS student shape your high school experience?

“It helped my people skills a lot. It helped me articulate my words and it helped me just be more determined. It also helped me with my time management skills. Before I came to WITS I would procrastinate on my homework, but after joining I would dedicate my time before program to do my homework. I could then spend the majority of my time reading or bettering other skills with my partner. I learned that if I had a lot of homework but also want to read a book that I might never see again or not have Dorothy there to help me, I had to do my homework before I got there!”

“Now if I have two major projects coming up, I learned how to manage my time and complete both in a timely manner. WITS really helped me shape this skill.”

Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to do after high school?

“I want to become a criminal justice lawyer because I am really good at speaking and getting my point across in a very nice and timely manner. It helps me know that I can really make a difference. Lawyers are very dominate and have a strong demeanor—that’s how I am.”

“I would love to do something with a purpose behind it. A lot of people do things and they don’t have a purpose behind it…my purpose is to stand up and speak and to really make a difference.”

Do you have any advice for students in the WITS program now?

“Do not take WITS for granted! Yes, it might be a way to stay out of the house for a few hours after school and go downtown. But actually take the time to really see what the purpose of WITS is and don’t just do it just because you have to. Do it because it is really fun. Once you get into you’ll see how much of an impact it will make on you. I wouldn’t be the student that I am at De La Salle today if it wasn’t for the WITS program.”