As a WITS program coordinator, I have the privilege of seeing relationships between students and mentors build from week to week, and sometimes, year to year. This is the second year that 5th grader Latrawanda and Roosevelt’s Julie Mack have been paired in the WITS on Campus program between Brownell Elementary and Roosevelt University. It has been so much fun to watch their friendship. Together they’ve read many books and conquered even more homework assignments. It isn’t unusual to hear them laughing together during WITS and connecting about how their day has been. I interviewed Latrawanda and Julie about their time together and enjoyed hearing about their wonderful partnership!
How did you first get involved with WITS?
Julie: About four years ago a colleague mentioned that she was involved in the program, and it sounded like something I would love to do.
Latrawanda: I was in our school computer lab, and the assistant principal asked my teacher to choose students to come to WITS and I was one of them.
Why did you choose to be involved with WITS?
Julie: I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, mostly at the college level, so when I learned that young students were coming to Roosevelt, I thought, how could I pass that up? Latrawanda and I hit it off right away last year. We have a lot of fun together.
What does WITS mean to you?
Latrawanda: To me WITS is an after-school program, but it’s more than that. It’s personal, because you can actually connect with your mentor.
What do you do when you’re not at WITS?
Julie: I work in theater as a lighting designer so I tend to be in the theater a lot. If I’m not in the theater, I am in the garden.
Latrawanda: For fun I like to dance or go to Six Flags.
What’s something interesting about you that not a lot of people know?
Julie: I love to draw. I don’t take enough time to do it, but I really love it.
Latrawanda: I like to eat a lot. I’m very skinny so I don’t think people would expect that.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Julie: Latrawanda’s smile and laugh. We laugh a lot together.
Latrawanda: You can talk to Julie. You can share a secret with Julie. And sometimes she makes funny facial expressions. You can open up to her.
What’s your favorite book that you’ve read together?
Both: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
What would your pen name be?
Latrawanda: Probably “Unicorn Girl”. Because if I were an author I’d probably write lots of books about unicorns and rainbows.
Julie: I do lighting and my last name is Mack, so I kind of like “Mack Light”.
If you could only eat one pizza topping for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Julie: Definitely pepperoni.
Latrawanda: Probably cheese if it’s what I have to have for the rest of my life.
Would you rather have clown feet or clown hair? Why?
Latrawanda: Clown hair because it’s a rainbow and I like rainbows. And if I styled it, it would be so cute!
Julie: Also clown hair. It’d be hard to walk in clown feet. But you could do a lot with clown hair.
Latrawanda: I love Julie.
Julie: I love LA!
Over the past 3 years, 68% of WITS students surpassed the national average for annual reading level growth