An Interview with Aurelius Henderson, SSA Parent 2011 and 2012
Q: Why did you send your twin boys to SSA?
A: My sons have done very well in school, so their grades are to the point where I think they can get into some very good schools. I’ve been trying to persuade them [to study for the SAT] for a while. I got them the book; I got them a CD program, but they weren’t doing much…. I thought this program would be more organized, more consistent, and they’d get to meet other great young students.
Q: In what ways did SSA go beyond your expectations?
A: SSA went beyond my expectations for a few reasons. One, my sons are a little bit shy, and I wasn’t sure how they would adapt to being with a group of students who weren’t from the area for 8 hours a day and for three weeks, but the experience they shared with these kids was one of the best experiences they’ve had. They loved interacting with those students, they got close to them, and they actually loved and looked forward to coming to the program each and every day.
Q: What did you hope your sons would get out of camp?
A: As they were attending, I started to recognize that they were getting even more out of it, because they were making new friends, interacting with a diverse group of students and people, and the staff were excellent—and they were starting to come out of their shells, and doing things I didn’t think they were going to do—they were getting
much more than just having their SAT scores improve. They gained more comfort with other students, and I was really impressed with that.
Q: What was your impression of the teachers at SSA?
A: The teachers are very learned; they know their stuff. They’re very patient… understanding… and welcoming. … my sons are very shy, and sometimes they can be a little bit picky—but they really loved each and every one of the teachers, and for me to see that—that’s amazing… [The teachers] have the ability to meet a person where they are, as an individual, and draw the best out of them, in ways that I find [the teachers in my sons’ school] have found difficult—maybe because [at SSA] the students get more individual attention [than at their school].
Q: Is camp a good investment?
A: Yes, I definitely think it’s a good investment. One, outside of the SAT score improvement, for this summer, they were able to do something I didn’t think they would enjoy—I thought it would be stressful for them—but they really loved being around the group and the teachers. And second, seeing that they were able to improve so much on their SAT scores—it was definitely worth the investment.
Q: Is there anything you want to add?
A: I want to thank SSA, and Max, and Alyssa and all of the other teachers for the work they did with my sons. It really was a great experience for them, and it was more than just about them improving on the SAT. They got a lot more by being able to interact with the other students and having you as their teachers—you gave them a lot more confidence. Their self-esteem is sometimes low, and their self-confidence [can be as well]. They enjoyed being with you all. You made them feel good about themselves.