by James Benedict

Last summer I joined Let’s Get Ready as a Math Coach at the Lowell, Massachusetts site. I got involved through the Raytheon Internship Program and am extremely happy that I decided to take part in the program.  I have seen first-hand that these students are talented and motivated to do well.

At the end of my first summer with Let’s Get Ready, a student asked me if I would be willing to tutor him during the school year. This student was exceptionally driven and had anything but a simple life.  During his sophomore year of high school he was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. He said that the therapy he was undergoing was affecting his ability to complete school work and that he felt like he was behind in learning some of the work required for his junior year, specifically in Math and Science.

He and I met every Saturday for two hours at the Lowell Public Library. He would bring questions about various topics and I would help him understand how to work through the problems. It also gave us a chance to talk about college and which schools he was thinking of applying to. My roommate at UMass Lowell was a Pre-Health Major and offered put the student in touch with some of the professors in the department. The student met with Pre-Health director and learned some valuable information about the profession. The student and I are currently working to develop his college essay before his senior year starts.

I find it so amazing how something as difficult as cancer does not discourage this student.  Even when he was going through treatment, he still pushed through and never gave up. He was able to work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital doing research on cancer. He has already excelled in college level courses, and constantly pushes himself to learn more about all aspects of the science related to cancer. He has focused his life around helping people and works tirelessly to achieve this dream.

Students like him are what Let’s Get Ready is all about. This student is the main reason I returned to Let’s Get Ready for a second summer. I did not know that when I started working with this program that I would meet such talented and driven young adults. They have truly enriched my life and I feel extremely happy knowing that I was able to help them on their way to achieving their dreams.

James Benedict is a rising Senior at UMass Lowell, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He participates in a Mechanical Engineering Co-op through Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in summer of 2015, while coaching at Let’s Get Ready’s Lowell summer site.