10 Questions With…Sejal

Andi Mirviss, our Summer Intern, sat down with Sejal, a rising 11th grade student at Perry Street Prep. Sejal had to leave Reach during the last school year due to her commitment to the school’s rugby team, but she returned to join us this summer.

How do you like Reach?
I love Reach! Reach is awesome; it really is. Especially with Ms. Jusna and Mr. Mark and everybody. We just have a special bond. We may not always get along, but we come to an understanding in the end. They actually do a lot of things for us; it’s a great experience.

What’s your favorite part of the experience?
Seeing the little kids so happy when they see us. Like after school, when we go downstairs…just seeing them run to us to give us a hug. It’s like they look forward to seeing us!

Can you tell me a little bit about one of the students you’ve worked with?
I first worked with Paris – I didn’t work with her long because she moved away. But, we had a very special bond. She was like a mini-me! After she left, I didn’t really have a student until LeeAnnah came along. She opened up to me about losing her mother and some of the challenges she faced. She’s very special.

So, do you think you’ve changed at all because of Reach?
Oh yeah! I know I’ve changed because of Reach. When I first started with Reach, I had almost no patience for little kids. They had so much energy and always wanted to talk your head off about anything and everything. They try to bribe you with anything to get out of doing their work! But, Reach taught me a lot of patience and how to be hard working. Reach taught me not to give up, even though sometimes I’d be like, “man, I’m tired, I just want to go home!” But I knew I had LeeAnnah, so I had to just go and do what I had to do.

Why did you decide to do the summer program, and what have you thought so far?
Last year, in my tenth grade year, I stopped doing Reach for rugby. I guess I didn’t think that I would be able to be with Reach again. When I signed up, I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do, but I knew it was Reach, so I came and did it!

We’ve been to colleges; we get to be ourselves. We don’t have to be professional all the time – we can call each other by first names, even the adults! It’s just very cool. Very very cool.

Do you have a favorite moment or memory from this summer?
So far, my favorite memory would be when we went to the MLK Memorial and we were looking at the quotes. We were all just so fond of him, and we were playing in the water! It was really pretty outside with all the little flowers and all that – even though it was really hot!

Have you had a favorite speaker that has visited this summer?
I had two, actually. My favorite speaker was Lanae from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. She talked about her job and how she helps the parents of kids who have been kidnapped.

My second favorite speaker was Jacob – he talked about programs you can do in the summer. You can go to different countries and learn new languages! I found that very interesting, because I’ve always wanted to go to Spain…and Jamaica…and the Bahamas! I think that would be an interesting experience.

Is there anything about yourself that the world might not see when they first meet you? If you could put your voice out there and say anything, what would it be?
I would talk about our generation, and how I feel it needs to change. If I had the opportunity to grow up in my mother and father’s generation instead of mine, I would choose that generation. I feel as though we have a lot of unheard teenagers, a lot of teenagers that want to be outspoken and want to come out of our shells, but we can’t because we’re always prejudged before we even open our mouths. We’re always prejudged about anything – how we look, how we dress, if we don’t have perfect clothes. I would speak out on that. We may not have all of the designed clothes and bags, but we each have our own personalities.

You think your parents’ generation wasn’t like that?
I mean, it was, but it was more about living in the moment. I mainly say that because of music now. Their music was about the things that were happening. Not in our generation – it’s always about sex, drugs, and money and all that stuff. I listen to all old school stuff!

Last question: Describe Reach in 5 words or less.
Opportunities. Hard-Working. Outgoing. Special. Creative.


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