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East Bay Math Students + Kids in Need = Impactful Spring Break in NYC

April 05, 2018 - Student Success

Ten East Bay High School students selflessly decided to give up their traditional Spring Break to help underprivileged kids in need in New York City. For many of the students, it was their first time on a plane, seeing the Big Apple, riding the subway or a ferry. On the Math Mission Trip, they tutored inner city kids, but they also brought home some valuable lessons.

“There are no words to express how grateful I am for all of the sponsors that made this trip possible. Without the help of all the sponsors, I would not have been able to go on the trip and make a difference in someone’s life. Not only do I believe I made an impact in someone’s life, but this trip has definitely made an impact on my life,” said East Bay student, Daniela Vazquez. “The part where we went to tutor the kids was the best thing I could ever imagine.” 

The East Bay students tutored at Beyond Readiness and the Beekman House.

Vazquez recounted her time that she spent with a 6th grade girl at a community center. “I learned that she played basketball and liked to dance. She was not talkative at first until I started to crack jokes. Seeing her smile told me that I was having a connection with her. So we started to work on some math problems and not only did I show her some new things, but she was teaching me some things I never knew about. I helped her whenever she made a mistake and gave her a high five and encouraging words when she got things right. She is very smart and I know she will do great things one day,” Vazquez said.

East Bay Math Teacher Taina Cote organized the Math Mission, along with Math Teacher Patrice Brown. They enjoyed seeing the students bond over the subject.

"Math is something that many of my students came in hating, but now they like it so much that they are willing to teach others. And not just what they know in math, but also how they overcame their math fears, how they overcame any anxiety about math, and how algebra, geometry, trig, calculus, has no color and it is a universal language where anyone of any background can be a mathematician, a scientist, a physicist or whatever they may choose,” said Cote.

Cote connected with the New York teachers online and is active with the group Teach with Love that helps to fund scholarships and missions like this one.

“Teach with love – you’ll love math,” said East Bay Senior Terriona Johnson.

In addition to tutoring, the students visited: The National Museum of Mathematics, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Oscar de la Renta's Headquarters, Famous Macy's in Herald Square, New York Public Library, Beekman House and Beyond Readiness.

Beekman House Team Member Tayaja Burgess was grateful for the East Bay students’ visit and the impact the tutoring had on the kids.  “This, by far, was one of the best groups we’ve ever had. You changed lives today, and I’m very appreciative of the tips, the interaction with these kids, because this is stuff they don’t normally get outside of us.”

“By inspiring our students to share their knowledge, we hope that our students will be able to learn the true value of education, count the blessings in their own lives, and truly appreciate what it means to give back to the community," Cote said.

For the past four years, Cote wanted to make the dream of a Math Mission a reality and now plans to make it an annual trip. She also hopes to inspire other HCPS teachers of all subjects to organize similar mission trips. For more information:,

Click here to read the previous Newsdesk story about the students preparing for the Math Mission.

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New York photographs courtesy of Vicky Flores Photography.

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