Vicki: How many years have you been coming to LEAP?
Jeison: LEAP has been a part of my life since the fifth grade, a year after I came to this country. As a 6th grader, I joined Expanding Horizons, LEAP's program at Collins Middle School. I was excited to join LEAP’s Teen Center when I was a freshman at Salem High School and now I am part of the College Success Program and Early College Program. I got my first job at LEAP when I could barely speak English. I plan to be a part of LEAP when I start college in the Fall of 2021.
Vicki: What does a school day look like this fall?
Jeison: Would you even call it school? You log in on the computer, you watch the class, and stare at the computer. After 30 minutes, people start to zone out. However, there are some classes that I actually enjoy, like science, because our teacher plans activities and games that make you pay attention.
Vicki: How has COVID changed your school day?
Jeison: These days I get up at 5am, do some homework, go to my first class, and then wake up my brother and make sure he goes to work. After second period I will make my lunch, check on my nephew, and then do the rest of the classes. I really like the classes with breakout rooms because we get a chance to talk and it is more comfortable than being in the big group.
Vicki: What are you participating in at LEAP this fall?
Jeison: The 84, Brothers for Success, Farm School, Social Justice Initiative, and Writing Club. I rejoined the groups I was in last year because the programs became a part of my life. The new groups are things I'm interested in like nature, human rights, social justice. I'm also looking forward to improving my writing in these programs.
Vicki: What are you excited about this school year?
Jeison: I am excited for more in-person things - I hope they happen! One of them is Project Adventure. There are lots of senior field trips like ziplining, going to the woods, a canoe trip, and other outdoor trips we do through Brothers for Success. I really can’t wait for Spirit Week - we do Deck the Halls, collecting cans for those who need food, raise money for an organization, pajama day, and other things like that. It is a competition between grades, and I like how competitive it is. I feel like the seniors do the best every year and I want it to be our turn.
Vicki: What is something you have done this year that you are proud of?
Jeison: I changed my bad habit of eating junk food every day by learning how to cook healthy foods like chicken salad with broccoli. I can also make lasagna by myself. I started eating vegetables for the first time in my life- even though I don’t necessarily like how they all taste! I’m a picky eater so that’s a big deal for me. I also started redecorating my room. I have LED lights now.