Forging Connections and Impacting Lives through Education

Miracle Okoro is a tutor leader in UNCA’s Education Department.

Miracle Okoro
UNC-A senior Miracle Okoro

UNC Asheville student creates lifelong impact through AVID tutoring partnership.

UNC Asheville senior Miracle Okoro has always felt drawn to children and to the classroom; as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) tutor leader in UNC Asheville’s Education Department, she’s taken advantage of the opportunity to work with students in Asheville City Schools, forging important connections and making a real impact in their educational journeys, and their lives.

Each year, 50 AVID tutors work with students in the classroom four days per week, facilitating small group discussions based on work students are doing in their core academic classes. This isn’t your standard tutoring session, however.

“AVID is unique in the sense that there’s not necessarily a hierarchical structure, but the need for community is very emphasized,” Okoro said. “The goal is to work collaboratively with the tutor. So we’re there as a facilitator more than we are as people who are there to give them all the answers.”

As a student, Okoro said she realized how important it was to see Black and brown people like her as educators.

“If there’s one thing that my association with the Education Department here taught me, it is that it’s very, very important that students have someone to relate to,” Okoro said. “A lot of behavior issues or academic issues, or whatever that disconnect is between teachers and students, is because they are not with the teacher who understands them as a full human being.”

Okoro and her fellow AVID tutors take special care to get to know their students, starting each session by checking in with them, learning about how they’re doing, and about who they are.

“I think that it’s very hard to get a child to learn, if you don’t show that you care about them,” Okoro said.

Okoro is already seeing the ways her experience as an AVID tutor will shape her own work as a teacher one day. She keeps a running list of ideas she hopes to implement in her future classroom, such as implementing mindfulness practices with her students. Alongside her students, Okoro plans to continue her lifelong journey of teaching and learning.

Visit education.unca.edu to learn more about UNC Asheville’s Education Department and to apply.