Scholar Spotlight: Lily

Brookland 6th grader Lily is fully embracing all the opportunities offered to her during her first year of middle school, including participation in Higher Achievement.  

Higher Achievement’s field trips, electives, academic support, and community have already made an impact.  “We learn how to be a better community at Higher Achievement,” says Lily.  During Community Meetings, scholars participate in discussions, games, and activities that help them develop social-emotional skills critical for high school readiness. Lily remembers a particular activity when scholars had to work together to create a large-scale spider web by throwing a ball of yarn back and forth to each other.  

Conversations and camaraderie formed during mentoring also contribute to a sense of community and belonging at center for Lily and her peers. “In my mentoring group, it feels like we’re a family,” says Lily. “I’ve also worked on my writing during mentoring. We do activities like writing a speech using argumentative writing, doing mad libs, and writing a zombie story.” These exercises prepare Lily to excel academically, and to pursue her interest in drama and theater. She is currently in a play at Brookland Middle School and recently wrote her own play, “The Day That Happened.”  

Lily’s days are full and one of her biggest challenges over the past year has been keeping her schedule organized. “Every single day I do Duolingo for Spanish, math, and music. I have a 950-day streak!” declares Lily. “In the past I did archery and swim and had something happening every single day.” 

In spite of her full schedule, Lily celebrated a major accomplishment this year: she was the only 6th grader at Brookland to get a 4.0, both in terms 1 and 2. In fact, she was one of only two students in the school to receive a 4.0 in term 1.  

Lily’s Higher Achievement Learning Director Kayla Wilson attended her honor roll ceremony and commends Lily’s commitment and hard work. “There’s a lot going on at Brookland,” says Ms. Kayla. “There are so many extracurriculars available and it’s a lot to juggle. For Lily to be so involved and make time for Higher Achievement while still maintaining a 4.0 is incredible.” 

Lily is already planning out her 7th-grade year ahead of her. “High schools look at your grades and your resume for 7th grade, so I want to do a lot in 7th grade.”  

She is exploring all the options available to her for high school and beyond. One potential direction that appeals to her is becoming an educator. “I want to teach the future,” says Lily. “In 5th grade, there was an afterschool program I was part of, and I would help out with the pre-K 3 kids and read them books and teach them.” This experience not only sparked Lily’s interest in a future career path, but also prepared her for scholar jobs available at Higher Achievement’s Brookland Achievement Center. One of Lily’s most memorable moments at Higher Achievement was when she was selected to be a Community Meeting Assistant and helped to lead a blind taste test of brand-name versus off-brand cereals.  

It’s not the first time Lily has stepped up as a leader. She was the valedictorian and emcee at her 5th graduation and introduced the various awards and speakers, including her current principal at Brookland Middle School, Mr. Richardson.  

Scholars like Lily are poised to step into bright futures. Their middle school years are full of potential and possibilities. Higher Achievement’s academic enrichment and social-emotional support during this critical period is fueled by the collective generosity of our community. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of young people as they navigate the challenges and celebrate the accomplishments of their middle school years.