By Christine Bordelon, Clarion Herald
Photo Courtesy Archbishop Rummel High
Recent high school graduates Bryam Enamorado and Michael Chepolis met on the Archbishop Rummel soccer team field in ninth grade.
“And, by the end of the first season, we were good friends,” Chepolis, 18, said. “We had mutual friends on the soccer team.”
Chepolis was well-known at Rummel not only for his athletic abilities but also for being a strong student. He was a National Merit semifinalist in his senior year.
When Enamorado realized he wasn’t achieving the ACT score he desired to get a TOPS scholarship, he turned to his teammate for help.
“There are a lot of people I could have gone to,” Enamorado said, “but I went to Michael because I have seen him in class. Everybody in school aspires to be as smart as him. He is one of those people who knows school is not easy, but he puts in the time and work needed.”
“It started out in senior year, the most difficult year, when it mattered the most,” Enamorado said, about working to improve his ACT score. “My parents encouraged me to study more, which I did, initially on my own, by taking practice ACT tests senior year.”
No matter how hard he tried retaking the practice tests his senior year, Enamorado said he couldn’t improve his score. It was the math section that was dragging his score down.
“I knew Michael was smarter than I am. He had gotten a 30+ on it, so I went to him to help me and he said, sure he could help me. I told him what it would mean to me, and that he would be rewarded.”
Since January, the two have plugged away in study hall and at Enamorado’s house to increase Enamorado’s ACT score, especially in math.
“It was more personalized help,” Chepolis said. “I knew exactly what parts and the types of questions he was struggling with, and I was able to help him that way. I think it was easier for him to communicate to me (instead of teachers) what he was struggling with more on the ACT and how I could help him.”
Enamorado said Chepolis made it more understandable by breaking the math down.
“He was a doctor dissecting something,” Enamorado said. “It was difficult for me, but incredibly easy for him. I could get through about half the test easily the first few times. Then, it got easier and easier.”
He said he was nervous the last time he took the ACT, “But I had high hopes. I ended up getting a 22,” which beat the ACT score he anticipated.
At first, Chepolis turned down the new PlayStation 4 gaming system reward Enamorado had offered him, saying he had helped him “out of friendship” at no charge.
“But I didn’t want that to happen,” Enamorado said.
On senior day May 9, when graduating Rummel seniors hold graduation practice, Enamorado surprised Chepolis with the PlayStation.
“I never thought I would have one of my friends be one of my teachers,” Enamorado said. “But, he became one of my teachers.”
Enamorado hopes to keep in touch with Chepolis by playing games on the gaming system, since they are going to different colleges – Chepolis to Ole Miss to study journalism, and Enamorado to the University of New Orleans to study engineering.
“We could both learn a lot from each other with our experience and knowledge. … I hope I’ve given him more than a PlayStation. If he ever needs help financially, I’ve got it covered.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.