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Write on

The partnership between Northeastern, 826 Boston, and O’Bryant School in Roxbury provides free writing services to high school children.

As a writing tutor at a Roxbury high school, Mary Grace, SSH’14, helps highly motivated students perfect their craft. But as most good teachers realize, learning is far from a one-way street. 

“I’ve learned a lot about patience, and knowing when to push and when not to,” says Grace, an English major who is minoring in psychology. “Not every kid wants your help, and that’s totally fine. At the same time, there are definitely kids who want your help but aren’t comfortable asking for it. It’s a delicate balance of making yourself available but not being a forceful presence.”

Grace grew up on Cape Cod and graduated from a small Catholic high school, so it was an adjustment to work in a large urban high school. The program, called the Writer’s Room, is jointly run by Northeastern and the local nonprofit 826 Boston, at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science.

“It’s been really interesting to connect with these kids who have had way more to overcome than I ever did,” she says. “They’re all so bright and receptive, and it’s wonderful to build relationships so they can succeed even more.”

So far, Grace and 40 of her Northeastern peers have helped nearly 1,000 students on research papers, college application essays, and high-pressure writing skills for the SAT and AP exam essays. 

“What was most satisfying,” she says, “was when students took the lessons from one essay and applied them, on their own, to the next assignment. It’s crazy how bright they are, and it was really cool to see that.”

– Courtesy of Northeastern Magazine 

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