Elainny Guzman

Elainny and her classmates performing a science experiment during Steppingstone’s six-week academic preparation component

A Family Pursuit

Twelve-year-old Elainny Guzman is from a Dominican immigrant family that places a high value on education. Now based in the Allston/Brighton area of Boston, Elainny’s mother works at Roxbury Community College and her father is a writer. But despite their strong dedication to their daughter’s education, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Elainny.

“I was a little anti-social and kept to myself,” she reflects of her time in fourth grade. “It felt hard for me to have fun or work in groups.” Her parents soon began looking for ways to support her and further cultivate a positive academic environment. That’s when they learned about Steppingstone’s College Success Academy (CSA). With the help of her parents, Elainny applied to CSA for fifth grade and was accepted as a Scholar.

Finding Momentum

At the start of Steppingstone’s academic preparation component, Elainny felt unsure about her future as a Scholar. “It’s a lot of work and hard to give up your summer,” she admits. But by the end of that first summer of learning both academic and social-emotional skills, she’d found her rhythm.

“Steppingstone is a whole second family,” she says now. “You’re surrounded by people who care about you and there’s always someone there to help you. It feels amazing that everyone wants you to succeed.”

Elainny addresses the room at the 2019 Steppingstone Gala

Girl On the Rise

Now in sixth grade at the Jackson/Mann School, Elainny took the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) with the hope of earning admission to a Boston public exam school for next year.

But regardless of which school is the right fit for her, Elainny knows that Steppingstone will always support her on her path to college with continued academic mentoring, social-emotional counseling, and—when she gets to high school—college guidance.


Thinking Bigger

As she awaits her admissions results from the public exam schools, Elainny has plenty to keep her busy: she is learning four languages (Chinese, Spanish, American Sign Language, and Pidgin Signed English), as well as four musical instruments (piano, clarinet, guitar, and violin).

“I have so much gratitude for Steppingstone after just two years,” Elainny says. And now, she’s focused on how other kids can have the same advantages she’s had.

“I still think about how Steppingstone could give this opportunity to other kids if they had the resources for it. It makes me glad that I got the opportunity to be a Scholar, but if Steppingstone could reach out to even more kids, it would be so helpful.”