Summer 2011

August 17, 2011

Four Points Tutoring Summer Newsletter Image

Four Points Tutoring has had a busy summer helping students prepare for the upcoming school year, preparing students for the SAT, and aiding in summer school classes. While we provide first class tutoring in all these areas, our primary focus this summer has been developing students’ writing skills.

Writing is a key component of literacy, and a skill that most students have not mastered. In fact, according to recent results of the National Assessment in Writing only about 25% of America’s kids are considered proficient writers and just 1% advanced writers. Experts say, most kids barely write above a basic level!

We tackled this need and created many avenues for students to improve this essential skill with the support of one of the top writers in the Austin area. We teamed up with our own Four Points tutor Justine Tal Goldberg: author, professional writer, owner of WriteByNight.

We kicked off the summer by hosting writing workshops for middle and high school students. The instructor taught students the tools for essay construction including:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Organizing thoughts
  • Outlining
  • Drafting

In addition to writing seminars, numerous students participated in one-on-one tutoring where we provided aid in:

  • Creative writing
  • College essay preparation
  • SAT writing
  • Basic grammar
  • Academic refreshers

We are proud to say that we’ve helped many students prepare for the new school year! Here, we present a few examples of student works. Thank you to Camille Sweeney for sharing the beginning stages of a novel, and Jason Sherwood who will submit the essay below to Senator John Carter for nomination to be admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Sweeney – Novel Excerpt

We were always outcasts. Nobody cared, nobody wanted anything to do with us, and nobody listened to us. It was like we were invisible. The feeling was terrible. On cold nights, much like this one, we struggled to survive. Me and Alexandra were a team. So close, as a matter of fact, we never called each other you. It was always we. We were abandoned by both our parents after their untimely demises, and were left with little supplies … not even blankets or warmth. In the night we would huddle together to stay warm, desperate and lonely. People gossiped about us. They would ignore our pleas. We don’t trust people anymore. That’s what most people call us. They point at us with crooked fingers and laugh. We don’t care. We stay strong no matter what. Winter is what we fear the most. The month with deathly cold temperatures and howling winds. Winter, the month of sorrow … when we lost our parents.

Jason Sherwood – Nomination Essay

Recently, I attended a pinning ceremony for my uncle who was being promoted to colonel in the Army. In front of 30 soldiers in dress uniform, my uncle received praise from his commanding officer for a job well-done and offered thanks to his CO, subordinates and family. Then my uncle’s CO and my aunt stepped forward to pin those silver eagles, the symbol of his new rank, on his shoulders. In that moment, standing beside my uncle who had come so far and done so much, I couldn’t have been prouder to know him. I also wanted nothing more than to be in his place. I can’t think of a better way to become so accomplished than through the Naval Academy.

I made the choice to pursue a career in the Navy very conscientiously. I chose this branch for two main reasons the first of which is that my father was a commander in the Navy. As a result, the values that he learned from his years of service—honor, courage and commitment—were instilled in me. The value that is most prevalent in my life is commitment. I’m captain of my lacrosse team and the third highest ranking officer in my Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (NJROTC) unit. I’ve also held a steady job as a lifeguard for a year and a half. My boss considers me an asset to the team. I’m always on time, adherent to rules, and fully committed to my role despite my youth. As a result, I am about to be
promoted to supervisor.

The second reason that I chose the Navy is because of the SEALs, the Navy’s special warfare unit. I aim to become a part of that elite group. My interest was sparked by a book I read, Lone Survivor, in which former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell recounts his career in the Navy all the way from BUD/S (the SEALs basic training). I was enthralled. The commitment and
perseverance Luttrell demonstrated inspired and motivated me. I also want to push myself to the limit and beyond to see what I am capable of. I’m not one to just coast through life; rather I am a person who seeks to discover just how far I can go. In school, for example, I do not settle for the classes I need to graduate. Instead, I take high level courses that test my intellect, such as Calculus, 4th-year Latin and AP Chemistry. I was recently accepted into the National Honor Society (NHS) which requires more than impressive grades. I was selected because I exhibited good behavior, participated in
extracurricular activities, performed community service, and demonstrated leadership.

Attending the Naval Academy will be a great way to begin my adult life. I feel strongly that the academy’s discipline, leadership training, academic rigor and, eventually, job security will put me on the road to a successful life. I look forward to a satisfying future of service to my country, my main concern: being the best person and Naval officer I can.

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