Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Finding a Breakthrough

Name: Anna-Claire L Crichton
From: Beavercreek, OH
Grade: 12th Grade
School: Dayton Regional STEM School
Votes: 0

When I was little, my mom used to always tell me “share the gifts
that you have with the world.” At that age, I assumed it meant that
if I could sing well, I would become a performer, or if I was super
intelligent, I would become a doctor. While those are in a way
examples of that, I found you can share your gifts in a much smaller

I experienced this when I began tutoring a 6th grader from
my school district. She was a shy, sweet girl who was very
unconfident with her math skills. Every time I would give her a math
problem, she would hesitate, grow embarrassed, and eventually give
up. Math was a struggle for her—and it was a struggle I knew all
too well. I remember being that girl. I knew it exactly what it felt
like to be faced with a problem that you’ve been told was easy,
only to be unable to figure it out. I decided I would use my gift of
being able to relate to her experience, in order to help her with

We would meet
once a week for an hour at the library, and within that hour, I
tutored her in math, but more importantly, I worked on helping her
become more comfortable with asking questions. I let her know the
similarities we had when it came to math, which seemed to help quite
I bit. I kept our sessions very light-hearted, and if she got too
frustrated, we would take a break and spend time talking about school
and some of the difficulties she was having with math class. It was
difficult at times, trying to figure out a way to explain things to
her that made sense, but it was beyond worth it to reach a point
where she had a good grasp on the math concepts. It was amazing to
see her grow more and more comfortable with her work. Perhaps the
most rewarding part was when I got a call from her teacher, to tell
me how engaged in class this girl had become. Apparently, she was
asking and answering questions, as well as doing quite well on the
weekly quizzes assigned in class.

I was beyond
honored to have played a small role in boosting her confidence. It
was a challenge at times, but so worth it in the end. While I am not
pursuing a career in math, I am pursuing a career in museum
education. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my experience
tutoring will most certainly help with my ability to convey
information to kids of all ages and levels of education. While
working with my 6th grader, I learned how to relate my own
personal experience to hers, and hone in on the issues she had with
learning. Finding that breakthrough point will most definitely aid in
my career, and I never would have found it if it weren’t for my
volunteer experience.

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