Our Stories

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After a wonderful conversation with Ms. Linville, principle of Ashley Academy, I am even more passionate about the opportunities we have to be a part of a new culture of success. Many adults responded last year to my FB message to read one hour a week to a young child. Ms. Linville is asking for many more readers to be in relationship with a kid who would benefit from an adult relationship next school year. Pray about your involvement. I will follow up with specifics this summer. I have found this to be both fun and rewarding.

 Margaret LaBattaglia I was fortunate enough to read your post last year when I first moved to Winston-Salem. Getting involved with my reading buddies at Ashley Academy gave me such joy. I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given. GET INVOLVED, it is life changing for everyone!
Shelia Wilson Chester David long time friend, I am also forever thankful to have even met such an awesome person as Principal Linville, and her wonderful team of educators. My experience reading to my two second grade boy last year changed “me” for the better…knowing and seeing how excited and how eager the students are, with knowing (someone will be there for them)…if only for just “one hour a week”, made me want to do better as a human being/humanitarian. Even though I now volunteer at Easton Elementary School. I’ll never forget my beginning there at Ashley Academy.


Thank you for opening yourself to these children as their Reading Buddy at Ashley Academy. You are a wonderful role model and example of how one person can make a difference. I’m so glad I know know. We will miss you.

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Margaret LaBattaglia added 7 photos and a video.

Birthday celebration for my reading buddies! It’s their first baseball game and their first Chick-fil-A sandwich!! Love spending time with them. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to these guys


Student Storytellers: Saturdays with math and jicama


Seniors Erin Hellmann and Logan Healy-Tuke, student co-founders of The Ashley Explorers Saturday Academy.

Seniors Erin Hellmann and Logan Healy-Tuke, student co-founders of The Ashley Explorers Saturday Academy.

It’s Saturday morning in the cafeteria at Ashley Elementary. At every table, third- through fifth-grade students are reading literature, completing math packets or tasting fresh produce – often squash, green beans or jicama.

The young scholars are charter members of the Ashley Explorers Saturday Academy. The Academy pairs 14 Ashley Elementary students with ten Wake Forest students, two recent Wake Forest graduates and two community volunteers for weekly lessons in math, reading and nutrition. By the end of each session, the students leave with their bellies full of healthy food and their education bolstered.

20131109_102215The Ashley Explorers Saturday Academy was founded to strengthen the reading and math skills of ambitious students who can benefit from additional academic support outside the regular school day. Spending Saturday morning at school is not how most young children envision their weekends. However, each week the grinning young scholars come into the school’s cafeteria to find their mentor, grab a snack and practice math and reading.

Despite the early weekend wake-up call, the tutors use their talents to support children in the Winston-Salem community. They major in a variety of subjects — from Latin to sociology to communication to economics — and many of the Wake Forest student mentors are interested in careers in education, either as teachers or policymakers.

SnacksAs tutors, we want to take what we’ve learned in our education and give it back to the community that has given much to us. In addition to our liberal arts education, Wake Forest offers students opportunities for real-world experience. We  learn both inside and outside the classroom.

  • Ally Kaminsky (‘16)
  • Arianne McArdle (‘16)
  • Tanner DeBellis (‘16)
  • Anthony Myers (‘15)
  • Brittany Vasquez (‘15)
  • Javar Jones (‘15)
  • Margaret Raney (‘15)
  • Mariah Wright (‘15)
  • Erin Hellmann (‘14)
  • Logan Healy-Tuke (‘14)
  • Lindsay Schneider (class of 2013)
  • Kory Riemensperger (class of 2013)

The Ashley Explorers Saturday Academy is a tremendous example of a school-family-community partnership that provides a framework to develop greater community engagement. We are planning to expand the program in the spring and look forward to offering one-on-one educational support, encouraging curious minds and deepening long-lasting friendships between tutors and young scholars.

Erin Hellmann is a senior sociology major from Frankfort, Ky. As a recipient of Wake Forest’s Richter Scholarship for independent summer study, Hellman researched the education system in South Korea. Next year she will join Teach for America in Phoenix, Ariz.

Logan Healy-Tuke is a senior economics major from Central Kitsap, Wash. Healy-Tuke worked with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (through Wake Forest’s Institute for Public Engagement) to examine best practices for closing elementary school student achievement gaps. He looks forward to a career in public advocacy.




Meet Rio Kid – Wake Forest Law School student and volunteer tutor
Degree: Juris Doctor
Hometown: Detroit, MI

Rio Kidd III was recently selected as a 2013 Presidential Management Fellow. He was one of 663 chosen from 12,120 applicants. Rio is deciding whether to pursue a career with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, or the State Department.III
After my career in the Marine Corps of serving my country and assisting people in countries such as Afghanistan and Asia, I had a strong desire to continue helping others. Taking up the study of law was the next logical step for me in engaging in my passion and in bringing justice and transparency to all parties involved in the legal process of the criminal justice system. I love trial work and litigation, and Wake Forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate, created the perfect environment for me to grow and learn.
I made it a point to volunteer for many different organizations, including the Guardian Ad Litem program, the Veterans Advocacy Law Organization, and local disabled children facilities. However, by far, my most rewarding experience was my time assisting a local elementary school student at Ashley Elementary. The principal and the teacher allowed me to partner up with my mentee and develop strategies and techniques that will, hopefully, strengthen his character and his intellectual curiosity.

Tutoring a child is God’s work.  Bettie Lee’s story

John and I have had an absolutely wonderful experience tutoring at Ashley School.  I believe that God has had a hand in this!  First of all, I never imagined that John would volunteer to tutor; but, after he heard Chester and me talking about my experience, he said, “I can do that.”  And “do that”  he has!  He and his student appear to have truly bonded and she appears to look forward to  their time together.

I love that we do this together and share ideas and experiences with each other.  My student has specific needs, and I was able to address these because of my past experiences.  It has been exciting to see her measureable progress. I knew my tutoring would make a difference, but I didn’t expect what happened.  One day we were talking about words that have the same ending syllable.  I gave her a few examples so she could learn what that particular sound looks like.  We were studying words that end in “ock,” like sock, rock, clock and flock.  “Flock?” she inquired. “What’s a flock?”  I explained that “a flock was…well, you remember when baby Jesus was born.  There were shepherds in the fields tending to their flocks of sheep.”   My little 3rd grader asked me, “I think I heard his name before, but I don’t know who Jesus is.”   The door was opened.  After I got permission from her family, I bought a child’s story book of the first Christmas for her and we read it together. I was thrilled to get to know her and share my love of Jesus with her.” I wish everybody would be a reading friend with a child.  God is certainly using John and me.

The school–staff and students– have been welcoming and supportive.  I want to thank Ms. Miller, Ms Cadiente, Ms. Tickle, Ms. Young and Mr. David for their special support and encouragement.  The experience of tutoring at Ashley has brought tremendous joy to us, and we pray that we can continue to do this in the future.

2013 Summer Fun Book Club at Ashley

Pics from Wednesday, July 10.  Thanks to all the volunteers

Getting instructions at the garden  Mary Jac Brennan DSCF3451 Tasting mint The watering boys A very helpful Volunteer Bookmobile DSCF3458 Cafeteria with YMCA volunteers DSCF3460 DSCF3461 DSCF3462 DSCF3463 DSCF3465 DSCF3466 DSCF3467 DSCF3468 DSCF3470 DSCF3471

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