Ryan Magruder ’10
An avid tennis player, Lawrence Manley Jr. ’09 spent his past summer working at the Fort Davis Recreation Center in Washington D.C. helping kids play the sport. Quickly, Lawrence realized that the young players were having trouble with the drills he was instructing. “They couldn’t keep the numbers in their heads,” Lawrence commented, “They couldn’t keep score.” The senior discovered that the problem was their lack of basic math skills.
Lawrence sought to volunteer at the kid’s school’s tutoring program. However, he quickly learned of the lack thereof. This became the inspiration for his Senior Service Project. Lawrence decided to start his own tutoring program for the kids to learn the math skills they needed.
After learning about what Lawrence had successfully done, Jodi Dean, a junior religion teacher in charge of the Dorthy Day Service Program, encouraged him to submit his project to the Prudential Service Award for consideration. At first, the five 500 word essays were enough to deter the senior, but he eventually complied with some pushing from his parents.
Several weeks later, Lawrence found out that his work was not in vain. His project was chosen along with one other student in the D.C. area for the top prize. Along with the recognition, the award grants its winners a $1,000 scholarship.
On the night of Sunday May 3rd, Lawrence, along with the two top students from every state, attended a celebratory banquet at the National Museum of Natural History. Former First Lady Laura Bush gave a speech honoring all of the winners. Jason Ritter, an actor who starred in Freddy vs. Jason alongside many other movies too, gave a motivational speech.
Throughout the entire process of planning, implementing and then reflecting on the project, Lawrence remained modest. Ms. Dean asserted that, “He is extremely humble…his humility is really impressive.”
Lawrence reflected on the experience saying, “At first the kids were a pain, but I grew to really like them.” In the end, Lawrence’s work and persistence did him and the young students well earning him national recognition and teaching them life skills.