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PEP Dec 2006
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Public Employee Press

SAT – 3 big letters for college-bound kids


Educator Patty Punch leads an early morning SAT test preparation class on Saturday mornings at DC 37 headquarters. High school students bone up on their math, grammar and writing skills to improve their test scores.

By JANE LaTOUR

The gate-keeping mechanism for admission to most colleges is the SAT examination. Each year, more than 2 million high school students take the competitive exam. SAT scores serve as one important factor in acceptance into the college of choice.

While the average SAT scores are higher at elite institutions like Harvard and Yale, the bar still remains high at most colleges. More than a decade ago, to help high school students jump over that bar, the DC 37 Education Fund began offering an SAT Preparatory course at the union headquarters for the children and grandchildren of union members.

The seven-week prep course is offered in the spring and fall. The cost to the families is low — $45 — only a fraction of the pricey SAT Prep courses offered by Kaplan ($709) and the Prince-ton Review ($1,009). Despite its low cost, theDC 37 program’s effectiveness is proven and demand remains high. As Ed Fund Administrator Barbara Kairson pointed out, “Applications to the course have steadily increased. We began with two class sections and we’re now up to three.”

Practice leads to improvement
The youthful participants offer eager testimony about the value of the program. “It helped me a lot, especially with the math and the writing,” said Adegoke Ademoye. “I learned new strategies to use for diagrammed questions and for geometry.”

A senior at Benjamin Cardozo High School, he is applying to Syracuse, Albany-Binghamton, and Hofstra University, where he plans to study computer engineering.

“I feel it was well-organized and that our teachers did a good job,” he said. His mother, Risikap Hassan, a member of Clerical-Administrative Employees ­Local 1549, shared her son’s enthusiasm. “It helped him a lot and was very useful,” she said. “I feel great that the union offers this for our children.”


Shamriz Tamanna, a junior, gained confidence from the SAT prep class. She plans to study pharmacology.


Adegoke Ademoye
will get his SAT
scores in late November. “The class helped a great deal. It was perfect!”

Jossen Narvaez
said it it was a good idea to attend the class. “It was very helpful. It probably helped my math scores.”

Christine Ramos
is on her way to becoming an archeologist. The course helped her to improve her SAT scores.

Christine Ramos is the niece of a DC 37 member and an aspiring archeologist. Now a senior at Progress High School in Brooklyn, she is applying to Brown and New York University. She attended every session of the SAT test prep course and was heartened by her performance.

“I know I did better than the last time,” she said. “I finished more questions and I was able to benefit from all the tips and tricks I learned in the course about test taking,” she said.

Jossen Narvaez is a senior at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. “The course actually helped me a lot,” he said. “It was extremely helpful.” In line with his hobby of cartooning, he hopes to study animation and other subjects at the School of Visual Arts. “I’m sure everybody did better as a result of the class,” he said. While all three seniors took the SAT test on Nov. 4, the juniors still have an opportunity to continue studying.

Shamriz Tamanna is a junior at Townsend Harris High School in Queens. In order for her scores to match her ambitions, she needs to keep studying. “One problem is that everybody is at a different level in the classroom,” she explained. “While it was really helpful in the math section, I feel that I need a more hands-on approach for certain topics.” Her top college choices are Cornell and Columbia, where she plans to study pharmacology.

Teacher Patty Punch has contributed her skills to the program for 15 years.

“It gives me hope for the future,” she said. “These kids give you a lot of insight. They’re bright, curious, and hopeful. The fact that they willingly come out on a Saturday to do this and that they go out of their way to learn new things is inspiring,” said Punch.

 

 

 
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