Kolten Bell The Freshman Experience

LC 7 Helping to Break Down Cultural Barriers



If you could put yourself back in your 2nd grade mentality, what would you remember? How badly you wanted to play kickball at recess? Who you wanted on your team? How nasty Mark's cooties were? Would they have apple slices for lunch? All of these, I’m sure, were on your mind at one point or another, but I want you to think about when you saw the big kids on the playground. Recall idolizing the kids older than us and wanting to hang out and fit in with them.

Wagner College freshmen who are enrolled in LC 7 are required to go to Make the Road in Port Richmond for two hours a week as a part of their experiential learning which is the field experience of the LC. There, they are the “big kids” to elementary school students who come from immigrant families and tutor them.

Students range from kindergarten to fifth grade. Some don’t speak english and some are fully bilingual. They bring their schoolwork and get help from these college students.

I asked a 2nd grader named Arlette what she loved about coming to Make the Road and she said, “I get my homework done a lot faster here than at home and I have a lot of fun with the older kids here.” 3rd grader Estela had nothing but great things to add by saying that her favorite part is playing math and vocabulary games on the whiteboard!


Not only are the younger kids learning from Wagner students, but the Wagner students are learning from the elementary schoolers. Freshman Arts Administration major, Leeanne Zotynia, tutors at Make the Road on Monday afternoons and she says that one of her students, Danna, wanted to return the favor for all of her help so Danna spent the next 20 minutes teaching Leeanne new vocabulary words in Spanish.

The benefits that come out of this for the kids are great. Laura Kyvik, another freshman who attends Make the Road, says, "it creates a new and exciting environment for students to have a more in-depth look on what they're learning, and become more immersed in the English language." and that this may help break down any cultural barriers that they may have to experience daily.

Great things like these are happening at Wagner College every day and it's great knowing that we are apart of a community that cares so much about giving back and helping others.