Elementary schoolers sent Devante Smith-Pelly letters saying he was their hero. He surprised them with a visit to their school.
Alejandro Diasgranados teaches second and third graders at Northeast DC’s Aiton Elementary. Known as “Mr. Dias” to his students, the 26-year-old teacher is a young rising star in the DC public school system. He recently won a $10,000 grant to create a laundry center for the school, where over 90 percent of students come from low-income households and many without access to washers and dryers.
Many of the students have been forced to face adversity early in their young lives. The school is less than a mile from the Northeast DC neighborhood where, earlier this year, four men jumped out of a car and fired more than 70 bullets into a crowd, killing 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson. A recent feature on Diasgranados in Washingtonian magazine described the “complicated” lives of these eight-year-olds –kids who have been recently placed in foster care or had the electricity cut off in their homes still being able to improve academically in Diasgranados’ classroom.