WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) - Adam Workineh, 15, looks over a sketched blueprint drawn by a middle school-aged boy. Workineh serves as a mentor and intern. He was once working on the same subject at Higher Achievement, a multi-year enrichment program focused on middle school students.
"Everybody at Higher Achievement is my family. I can come back, I can become an intern. I could just see how much the program has grown."
Middle School students take the first steps toward advancing both socially and academically. Higher Achievement challenges students during this critical time. Accepted students make a deep commitment of 650 hours of additional academic and extra-curricular work throughout the year. Students come from five wards in the District and the city of Alexandria.
"I really see Higher Achievement an early intervention, college access program that starts in 5th grade and helps our scholars navigate traditionally tough years and ultimately make it to high school and then to college," said executive director Katherine Roboff.
Students participate in the program all year within the Afterschool Academy and the Summer Academy. Higher Achievement teaches advanced lesson plans in core subjects like math, science and reading. Workineh was able to skip 5th grade.
"Well Higher Achievement helped me catch up with the curriculum, now I feel I haven't missed so much in 5th grade."
The program also gives students a chance to visit colleges and explore careers.
"I guess I didn't realize I wanted to become an engineer. But looking back on it, I guess Virginia Tech was a really nice trip."
After graduating from Higher Achievement, Workineh was accepted into a top high school, School Without Walls. He enters 11th grade this fall.
"I'd like to be an aerospace engineer because that fascinates me so much. It's interesting how those engineers work on projects that take astronauts to space."
NOTE: Gannett Foundation has provided a grant to Higher Achievement.
Produced by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA9 & WUSA9.com