Last year, Palmer Trinity junior Tiago Rachelson started a small tutoring program for fourth grade students at Frank C. Martin Elementary.
Each Thursday, he would help the kids there in the after-school program to improve their math skills. He specifically worked with fourth grade students who weren’t as good at math, so they could do better on the standardized testing.
This summer, Rachelson planned to begin a robotics program for underserved youth.
“At Palmer, we have a robotics program led by Lego NXT. I didn’t want to be there. I’d heard it was hard, but it was required,” he says. “But now, robotics is one of my favorite classes.”
Rachelson says he would teach the fundamentals of robotics at first for about six months, and after that get into competitions and go from there.
“I’m trying to start this summer and then I’d start all year round,” he says. “I’ll probably only take four or five kids.” He hopes the children will be excited to learn robotics when they see how they can program a robot to do something.
When Palmer goes back into session later this summer, Rachelson will embark on a new adventure – he was elected junior class president. That alone will keep him busy in the coming school year. He is also on the student diversity committee and he is a peer counselor.
He plays alto sax in the school band and he’s a member of Tri-M, the music honor society. Along with being a musician, he’s also an athlete; he plays point guard on the basketball team. He was on the junior varsity team as a sophomore, but he has moved up to the varsity team.
As a way to improve his Spanish, Rachelson is participating in a three-week exchange program in Salamanca, Spain. During his time there, he will live with a host family.
“After I come back, that is when I will start the program for robotics,” he says.
While Rachelson is not sure if he will be able to continue the math tutoring program, he continues to embrace what he learned at F. C. Martin.
“What I want to do in life now, the the way I am now, the way I think and the places I want to go in the future. I only want to go to those places because of what I learned at F.C. Martin,” he says.
Attending the racially diverse school also set him on a path that is unusual.
“I want to go to Morehouse College in the future. One of the reasons I want to go there, is because at Frank C. Martin I learned more about diversity,” he says. “I can be comfortable at a historically black college or university and be white.”
He feels strongly enough about his choice that he announced it to his classmates at Palmer. That announcement caused some of his classmates to second guess his decision. But he says he remains convinced he should attend the college that produced great leaders such as Martin Luther King.
“The thing that Morehouse has is the Morehouse mystique,” he says. “It’s like the college calls me. I didn’t pick Morehouse, Morehouse picked me. I actually visited the college.”
He was not sure how he would be perceived there, but he says that when he got there everyone accepted him and allowed him to be with them.
“In each class, everyone was genuinely nice to me and super friendly,” he says.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld