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Small Change, Big Impact

Solving for "X," With College in View

Photo by Mike Siegel

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“Is it hard? Do you really not sleep at all? What are the dorms like?”

The algebra students at Seattle’s Ingraham High School have tons of college questions for math tutor Emmanuel Mancilla (right), a Seattle Pacific University junior and integrated studies major. While he helps them figure out how to solve equations, he gets to know the students. “These kids assume that if you start doing badly in high school, your chances of going to college are sunk,” Mancilla says. “But if you can turn it around, and it shows in your grades and involvement, you still have a chance. That’s what happened for me.”

Mentors and teachers pushed him to improve his grades as a high school freshman, Mancilla says. “They saw potential in me.”

Now, he’s pushing Ingraham freshmen and sophomores to focus on their studies — with college in view. “A lot of the kids know their stuff, they just tend to get off-task,” he explains. “And when they don’t understand, if I can spend !ve minutes with them, then they get it.”