Given the vastness of the New York City public school system, there are many students that often slip through the cracks of public school bureaucracy, however, there are some that are able to prevail against the odds. Randy Joseph, age 19, exemplifies the latter example—a student of endurance and strong will. His arduous journey to success is one he and his family will never forget.
Originally from Trinidad, Randy migrated to Brooklyn, New York in 2005.
In 2010, Randy was placed in special education classes and given an Individual Education Program (IEP) file. He would often go unnoticed in the classroom due to his quiet demeanor. Also as a freshman, he would always attend school but never fully participate in class. This was due to his fear of embarrassment. He stated, “I would just sit in class quietly because I didn’t want to feel embarrassed for not knowing something.” After having to repeat the 11th grade, Randy was then sent a promotion in doubt letter by the Department of Education. These layered setbacks were causing his family to lose hope and they seriously considered pulling him out of school. His mother, Joann Prescott’s, biggest fear was that he would not be able to fully experience the American Dream as an Caribbean immigrant with an IEP diploma. After watching him struggle repeatedly with poor results, refusing to give up, she decided to invest in her son’s education by sending him to Lovell Tutoring.
One of his tutors recalled, “Randy was in a dire situation where the odds were stacked against him; he needed to make up over two years of academic work in less than seven months.” His workload consisted of Power Point presentations, various exams, online classes, and four round table projects—extensive research papers with proper MLA and APA citations.
Randy’s tutoring sessions were extremely intense and rigorous to say the least. Because he would be easily distracted at home, Randy did most of his studying at the tutoring center. According to Randy, there were days where he would leave school and head to Lovell Tutoring and stay there to work on past due assignments from 4:00 p.m – 3:00 a.m. and still go to school the next day.
Because of the severity of his situation, his tutoring classes were structured like a zero tolerance boot camp where he would have to check in his phone before each session. This was done to insure he would not be distracted by outside influences. According to his tutor, it was also mandatory that he sacrifice a lot of the free time he would normally spend with his friends.
Randy stated, “Doing a large amount of work in a small amount of time was often frustrating and overwhelming, but I knew it needed to get done, so I committed myself.”
With determination, hard work, and skillful tutoring, on Aug. 29, 2013 Randy was able to propel himself out of special education and graduate from the Brooklyn School of Global Studies with a Regents Diploma. It is very rare that a student moves from an Individualized Education Program (IEP) status to obtaining a distinguished Regents Diploma. During this whole process, Randy was especially concerned about the well being of his mother. He states, “She believed in me and never gave up on me. It feels good to know that she doesn’t have to worry about me anymore.” His dream of entering the U.S. Air Force and becoming an engineer is now a reality.