is an athletic and academic mentorship program for high school students in the greater Boston area. Through a combination of coaching in rowing and swimming, and a focus on college-preparatory academics, our approach works to expand higher education opportunities for students. Students, called Achievers in the program, learn how to translate the grit, discipline, and confidence taught in athletics into the classroom, and are equipped with the mentorship and skills necessary to graduate high school and succeed beyond it. This program is completely student-run by MIT undergraduates and is free of cost to all students who participate.
The program is 10 weeks long, and has a semester in the fall and the spring. Each session is on Sunday from 8:30am to 1:30pm with an athletics, academics, and a “deep dive”. The program is entirely free of charge and we provide lunch between our athletics and academic portions of the session.
We believe that our sports swimming and rowing are complementary to the lessons that we teach in the classroom. These sports can teach grit, the ability to overcome setbacks and push through challenges. Additionally, these sports are typically less-accessible for many of the students in our program. We coach students with a spectrum of abilities in these sports from those who have never picked up an oar or taken a stroke in a pool to those who compete in the sport regularly.
One of the primary goals of the program is to develop a love of learning amongst our students. We have lessons every session on interesting and less-frequently-taught topics to spark curiosity from our students. Some past lessons include the ramifications of editing the human genome, methods of rhetoric using ethos, pathos and logos, and writing basic computer programs in scratch. We have a 1:1 teacher to student ratio in small groups to maximize student engagement.
At the end of each session we allocate time to spend with our students on whatever they would like to focus on. For many of our juniors, this will be the college process (e.g., searching for colleges, filling out the common application, writing essays). For others this may be homework help or a further exploration of the lesson of the day.
One of the most valuable parts of the program is our ability to be a mentor to our students. Each student in the program is paired with exactly one mentor. This mentor is their resource to lean on and take advantage of. The mentor will meet and speak with their student throughout the week, be a role model for them, and be a resource whenever they are needed.