A Wonderful Exchange

Above photo from left to right, bottom row: Summer Haas, Christine English, Parisa Mazandarani, Katharine Shapleigh, Jose Suriel. Top row: Nicole Bennett, Jaclyn Russo, Melissa Jordan, Naikyyia Manick, Gabriel Godwin, Jovonne Pullen, and Michael Schlesinger.

Next fall — as schools across Connecticut open for the new academic year — there will be new faces appearing in the classroom… and not just the students. There will be about 200 Teach For America instructors in the state, many of them just out of college.

Eight of the Corps members stopped by the New Haven Promise office Thursday morning, along with Connecticut TFA staffer Christine English, to interview some of the New Haven Promise scholars for stories that will soon appear on the New Haven Promise website.

“We have to give credit to Connecticut TFA for being such a conscientious non-profit citizen with a deep commitment to collaboration.” said NHP Executive Director Patricia Melton. “In the end it was a wonderful exchange and a great morning for both the TFA corps members and our scholars.”

The eight TFA teachers who volunteered for this project were Oswego State graduate Nicole Bennett of Syracuse, N.Y.; Santa Clara graduate Gabriel Godwin of Seattle, Wash.; Lycoming graduate Summer Haas of Lock Haven, Pa.; Notre Dame graduate Melissa Jordan of Chicago; UCLA graduate Parisa Mazandarani of Downey, Calif.; UConn graduate Jaclyn Russo of Littleton, Mass.; Trinity graduate Michael Schlesinger of Ambler, Pa.; and Holy Cross graduate Katharine Shapleigh of St. Louis, Mo.

From left to right, Teach for America volunteers Gabriel Godwin, Michael Schlesinger, and Parisa Mazandarani

From left to right, Teach for America volunteers Gabriel Godwin, Michael Schlesinger, and Parisa Mazandarani

Shapleigh has already gotten her assignment to teach at New Haven’s Achievement First Amistad High, one of the schools whose graduates are eligible for Promise scholarships. Last summer she interned at Tuesday’s Children, a non-profit organization which was established to support families impacted by the events of 9/11. Now it reaches those directly affected by terrorism worldwide.

The three New Haven students who were interviewed by Team TFA were 2012 Hillhouse graduate Naikyyia Manick, a rising sophomore at Eastern Connecticut State University; 2012 Career graduate Jose Suriel, Jr., and 2012 Co-Op graduate Jovonne Pullen, both rising sophomores at the University of Connecticut. Pullen’s younger sister Chinise is a likely NHP Scholar who will join her in Storrs next fall.

See more photos with CT TFA on our Flickr stream

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