This summer we are happy to have Krystal Edwards join our team as a student intern. We are excited to bring her voice to TSC before she heads off to Union College in the September. Having gone to an expanding learning time (ELT) middle school in Boston, Krystal knows firsthand about the powers of a redesigned school day. I sat down with Krystal to ask her some questions about ELT, her awesome story from May in the Boston Globe, and the future. Join me in welcoming Krystal and share any questions you might have for her below!

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What was your favorite part of your ELT experience in middle school?

My favorite part about my ELT experience in middle school was the extracurricular activities and apprenticeships that Citizens Schools offered. Not only did I enhance my skills in basketball, but I also learned new skills I never thought I would learn. I learned how to solve cases like a lawyer and how to better manage my time. I also got the chance to finish any work or homework I had to do during the day while finishing the day with great hands-on activities.

How did that experience better prepare you to succeed in high school and college next year?

The extra time spent on my work benefited me in high school because it made me realize the sooner I get my work done the sooner I can do what I want to do. My time management skills were put into effect because I was a tri-athlete during high school — I played volleyball, basketball, and softball. I was able to do this while remaining an honor roll student throughout high school. With the extra help from my ELT school with my reading, I was nominated junior year by my teacher to join an Advanced Placement (AP) English class. I took AP English both my junior and senior years and received high honors both years, ranking number two in my senior class. I was salutatorian, spoke at graduation, and got a full scholarship to attend Union College as a Posse Scholar.

Last March you were part of a panel at the State House for the launch of  TSC Massachusetts. It even landed you an article in the Boston Globe! Tell me about that experience.

My experience with the panel at the State House was mind blowing. I would have never thought I would be asked to speak at the State House in front of a lot of important people. The experience was amazing because there were so many people with suits and ties, and although I was the youngest voice in the room, everyone listened. Having my voice heard and people listening to my story took me by surprise because it showed me that just because you’re the youngest person in the room doesn’t mean people won’t listen to you.

What do you hope to get out of your internship with the Time to Succeed Collation?

I hope to gain new skills working at this internship. I’ve never worked in an office before and I’m learning many different things every day I work. I hope to gain skills I can use for the future when I’m in college, like writing skills. Working with the Time to Succeed Collation will teach me how to write like a professional, whether it’s in an email or a blog. I’m also looking forward to being part of a team which will translate well to the basketball court at Union College this Fall Semester.

What’s one myth you hear about ELT that you would like to dispel?

A myth I hear about ELT that I would like to dispel is “kids hate ELT”. I would like to dispel this myth because that is not true. At the Clarence Edwards Middle School, students like me loved ELT. Not only did ELT give students extra time to work on class work or homework, but students were introduced to new experiences. It helped me learn how to become more open minded while working with other students and to choose challenging yet interesting courses. ELT is a different type of learning for students; it gives kids a jump start to look at school and life through a different eye. Rather than just receiving traditional instruction in math and reading, I experienced a school day that balanced the curriculum with hands-on, real world enrichments that made learning relevant and even fun.

What are you most excited about as you gear up to head into your first year of college?

I am excited about becoming an individual when I go off to college, becoming aware of my weakness and strengths, and being on my own. Although college is a lot of freedom, it also is a lot of responsibility and all I have is myself to rely on. I will have to meet deadlines for papers, be on time for basketball practice, and make sure my schedule is right so I can be prepared for my exams. I’m excited to meet new people and just expand my horizons. When I go to college I will hit the ground running and understand that at times I might struggle but know that, as the Harvard University basketball coach Tommy Amaker said, “a setback is just a set up for a comeback.”