Community Connections

The first time Jalen Little ’19 sat in a Taft classroom he was still a middle schooler. Jalen was a student in the Taft School-Police Activity League (PAL) Summer Enrichment Academy, a program for local sixth- through ninth-graders designed to prepare them for the rigors of applying to private school.

 “It is a really great program,” says Jalen. “I learned so many important skills and study strategies for taking the SSAT and applying to Taft. It also gave me the opportunity to get to know members of Taft’s teaching faculty; I worked hard to leave them with a good impression of who I am as a student.”

Jalen performing in "Arsenic and Old Lace."

The hard work and solid preparation paid off when Jalen was accepted into the Class of 2019.

“Taft is everything I hoped it would be, and so much more,” Jalen says.

And Jalen is making more of his time at Taft than even he thought possible, giving back to the school community through a number of meaningful programs and activities.

As a tour guide, Jalen is one of the first people many prospective families meet. His warm, affable manner and his genuine love of the school make him a natural for the job.

“Mine is one of the first faces visiting families will connect with Taft,” notes Jalen. “The most important thing I can do is leave them with good feelings about our school.”

Jalen is also a member of Taft’s Volunteer Council, the group that plans and organizes many of the service-related initiatives on campus, from blood drives and food banks, to this year’s Oxfam Hunger Banquet.

“It is important to me to be involved with things that allow me to reach outside of Taft. The larger impact we have on the world around us—the connection we make with the community—is awesome.”

And Jalen is bringing one community connection full circle: He now teaches at the Summer Enrichment Academy that first introduced him to Taft.

“As someone who has sat on both sides of the table, I know I can bring something special to the program.”

And to the Taft community, as well.