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Eighth-grader Jose Bautista talks about his two years at Vare-Washington School.

— Photo by Abdul Sulayman/Tribune Chief Photographer

Eighth-grader Jose Bautista is enjoying his experience at Vare-Washington School. While he has only been going to the school for two years, Bautista has grown not only academically but personally.

“When I first came to this school, I couldn’t even speak any English,” Bautista said. “I’ve really came a long way since being a student at this school. Vare-Washington is a pretty good school. I really like the teachers here, they are the best. If I need help with anything they are willing to help me. They make you feel comfortable. They break the lessons down in a way where it is fun, but you are also learning. Even though they are hard on us sometimes, they are really good at teaching and pushing us.”

Bautista is in the early stages of working on his Capstone Project. The project is a graduation requirement for students who attend Vare-Washington.

“Students at Vare-Washington start doing huge papers when they enter the sixth grade,” said principal Zachary Duberstein. “The Capstone project is for the eighth-graders of our school. They have to write a 15-page paper on a topic that they would like to solve. The whole point of the paper or the Capstone project is to increase the level of rigorous writing as well as prepare students for high school and college.”

Bautista’s topic for his Capstone project is abuse.

“Everyone who does the Capstone project can pick their own topic,” Bautista said. “My topic is on the different types of abuse like physical, sexual, verbal and psychological. I just started my project, but I have a learned a lot about my topic so far. I’ve been getting information from various websites and books.

“My teacher has also been helping me out, too, with my project,” he added. “He’s been giving me advice on my main idea and what evidence I would need to include to back up my facts. The project itself will take me three weeks to complete. After I get done with my paper, I will have to do a presentation on my topic in front of my principal, teachers and some other people.”

While Bautista will be in his first year of high school next year, he says he will be fully prepared because of his experience at Vare-Washington.

“The different programs and the teachers are what make Vare-Washington a good school,” Bautista said. “The teachers are really helping us prepare for high school because of the work that they are giving us now. Two high schools that I’m already looking at are Constitution High and Academy at Palumbo. No matter where I go, I will be ready because of my experience at this school.”

chill@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5716

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