As a community, we have what we need

86972042_3592143034160088_4550076834280112128_o Dear Friends, The past four weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind and I am bracing myself for the reality that “normal” is a thing of the past. COVID-19 has forever changed us. This reality strikes me with a deep sense of loss, grief, and even mourning, but is also matched with deep gratitude. While I miss seeing our 550 students and community partners in the hallways of The W.G. Pearson Center, I am grateful the Student U team has fully adapted our program to online delivery and is a consistent support for our students and parents.

While I mourn the end of the school year and the usual activities that surround it, I am grateful that we will still be able to celebrate our Decision Day virtually and that the Student U journey lasts 11 years – which means we will have more time with our students in the future!

While I mourn the loss of jobs, school closures, and increased financial stressors our families and community are experiencing, I am grateful that through your support, we have been able to provide:

  • 65 laptops and WiFi hotspots to our Student U students (Thank you Triangle Ecycling for donating 20 laptops!)
  • Rent assistance, food assistance, and other basic needs to our Student U families
  • Support for our partner Durham Public Schools Foundation in their meals initiative
As I move daily between grief and gratitude, I am moved to action by the reality that our students and families need our help – and yours – to lay the groundwork for the recovery process. It will be long and will require all of our support. I heard today from one of our 7th-grade after school instructors, who said that one of his students, Maria, has been checking in virtually for math tutoring every day. She wants to keep up with her schoolwork, and the attention of her own personal online tutor every day from Student U is helping her keep up with her assignments and learn new material. She asks every day when Student U will reopen its Year-Round Program, because she misses it. Anyone who has a 7th grader knows how special it is to hear that a student misses her after-school program! And Maria is only one of our 150 middle school students waiting for us to open the building again. We are facing unprecedented times. Our commitment to our students and families is unwavering and will continue to guide all our decisions. We need your support. We believe that we, as a community, have everything we need to care for each other well. With deep love, admiration, and appreciation for each and every single one of you,

Alexandra Zagbayou,
Student U Executive Director


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