Student and Mentor Spotlight: Exelon & Lozano Elementary

Lorilyn and Galilea are reading partners in the WITS Workplace Mentoring Program. Galilea is a sixth grader at Rodolfo Lozano Bilingual & International Center Elementary School in Wicker Park. Every Thursday afternoon she rides a school bus with 34 of her classmates to Exelon’s offices in the Chase Tower. Once there, she takes the elevator to the 48th floor, where she reads with Lorilyn, or Laura, her other reading mentor. Lorilyn and Galilea are both WITS veterans, having been in the program for several years. They sat down to share some of their thoughts on reading, WITS, and each other.

How long have you and Lorilyn been reading together?

Galilea (G): Three years.

Do you remember when you first met each other? How did you feel?

G: I was excited because I didn’t really know what the program was.

Lorilyn (L): I was excited and a little nervous. That was my first time [in WITS] too.

What has been your greatest reading accomplishment at WITS?

L: We’ve started Charlotte’s Web. That one pops into my mind as one of the longer books that we’ve read. Do you remember the one about Paris?

G: Oh yeah! I had gotten it at the bookstore at the school. We read that together the first year.

L: She said one of the reasons she read it was because going to Paris is on her bucket list.

What is your best memory of WITS together?

G: I think it was Switch Day.

L: I was going to say the same thing!

G: Instead of me coming to [Exelon] she came to my school. I think it was the year before last year. We made the origami bookmark.

L: She was very excited [to show me around her school]!

What is something you’ve learned from your buddy?

L: She reminded me how tough school can be at such a young age.

G: Yeah we have the PARCC test…

L: It’s kind of funny how we like a lot of the same things. Like the color red is our favorite color. We really don’t like math as much but we like reading and writing.

Lorilyn, how have you seen Galilea change since she started WITS?

L: Well not only grow physically—

G: (whispers) Good reading!

L: And yes, with the reading! I have seen that she can take a book like Charlotte’s Web and do better than expected. It’s nice when she’ll pick a book like Charlotte’s Web and I can see how well she can read!

What is a hope or dream you have for your reading buddy after you’re no longer reading together?

G: Remember me!

L: We were just thinking about this because this is [Galilea’s] last year [in the WITS program]! I dream that you’ll go to Paris! I imagine you bringing books with you. When she comes back from Winter Break, Spring Break she’ll always tell me about books that she’s read. It’s nice to see that she likes to read. I love to travel, and it was because when I was younger I’d read all these books. And so when she read this book about Paris, and she wanted to go to Paris, I thought if she read more things, she might also want to travel and see more of the world.

By Fiona Hays, Program Manager