Michelle Tsang of Suffern Senior High School, ambassador of Girl Scout Heart of the Hudson Troop 40718, earned the Girl Scout Gold Award early this fall. The highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouts, recipients are required to complete a beneficial project for their local and/or global community that demonstrates inspirational leadership, planning, networking and organizational skills.
For her Gold Award Project, Tsang created the Summer Learning Jumpstart Program to provide free tutoring services for ENL (English as a New Language) and minority students entering K to 6th grade in summer 2016. She aimed to minimize these children’s summer learning loss and improve their academic performance in the upcoming school year.
Statistics show that many children experience two months of learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. For ENL and minority students, the cumulative learning loss can leave them two and a half to three years behind their peers by fifth grade.
In summer 2017, the program enrollment tripled due to Tsang’s collaboration with the district’s elementary school principals and ENL teachers to find students who would benefit most from the service. The increase in enrollment meant more tutors were needed, and she successfully recruited dedicated high school student tutors from the ranks of various Suffern Senior High School honor societies.
Tsang also demonstrated leadership qualities by mobilizing her peers to engage in philanthropy and service to the community. She believes that education is the gateway to social equality. Tsang helped to secure a commitment from Suffern District elementary program to continue the Summer Learning Jumpstart Program into the future.
The Girl Scout Gold Award winner said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank [members of the community] for their support and contributions to the Summer Learning Jumpstart Program.”
Tsang listed about two dozen supporters of the program she was grateful to including Suffern Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas Adams, and several principals and faculty members from the Suffern district.