Dorcus Olatunji On Experiential Learning and Innovation in Delaware

October 12, 2021

Knowledge is priceless, a lesson Dorcas Olatunji learned through her involvement with the Dual School at the highly ranked Charter School of Wilmington. Olatunji began her journey with this unique style of learning her sophomore year; she is now a senior, and throughout her academic journey, she has made a remarkable change in her community. Her ambitions were encouraged by the unique commitment to learning and entrepreneurship that the Dual School provides. Through this program and alongside a mentor, Olatunji was able to focus on one idea and chase after it, learning through trials and tribulations. In addition to her achievements through school, Olatunji serves on the Delaware Board of Education as its first inaugural student representative. Her involvement at school combined with her experiences on the Board are what led her to create T Squared.

T Squared is the product of Olatunji realizing that not all students have transportation available to pursue an education. Many students throughout the country cannot actively participate in the learning experience like Olatunji has, so she utilized her knowledge and skills garnered through the Dual School to make a difference in her community. Thus was born T Squared, a transportation system dedicated to helping high school students reach their goals of learning, enrichment, and fun. Through her positive educational experiences and insightful moments on the Board of Education, Olatunji had all the tools to provide other students the gift of learning.

Preparing Students to Thrive

“My name is Dorcas Olatunji. I’m a senior at the Charter School of Wilmington, and I’m mainly involved in three areas where I categorize my activities. That’s experiential learning, public service, and civic engagement.

The beginning of my sense of involvement and my sense of self really began my sophomore year with Dual School. It’s a student learning incubator where they said, “You have an idea, we’re going to match you up with a mentor and then just run with it.” And that was a really important experience for me because I learned how to learn for learning sake as opposed to getting that perfect test and, like, reacting to failure.

But when it came to Dual School, failures were encouraged: to fail forward, to fail often. And a really good theme that I learned there is, like, to dare is to learn. Because that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

I’m also involved on the state Board of Education. I’m the first inaugural student representative, and in that role I attend all of the board meetings as well as some other educational events happening around Delaware.

So I thought about all the other students who are trying to find those opportunities to learn and to really find, like, themselves and how transportation had become a barrier. And so those skills that I learned from Dual School about entrepreneurship, about innovative thought, really came in handy.

When I devised T Squared or Transforming Transportation, which was an Uber for high school students, especially for out-of-district students, where they could participate in those clubs and those activities by learning and using that small Delaware superpower where we could all come together and be able to help each other with reaching that goal and with reaching that opportunity.

And I feel like that really goes down to some of the lessons that I learned from my mother and a Nigerian proverb goes that it takes a village to raise a child. And Delaware really does feel like a village. And I think that’s a really great superpower that Delaware has and a really great skill that has been developed is our people power and our ability to get stuff done because of how close everyone is.”

A Great Education and Caring Community – Delaware’s Superpowers

Education is an essential factor to consider when choosing where to live. Whether looking for a charter school like the one Olatunji attended or opting for the state’s trusted and celebrated public educational system, one can find a school meant for them in Delaware. The state’s schools are just one reason Delaware is so special. Olatunji compares Delaware to a village, boasting about the community that looks to support its members in achieving their goals. Thanks to the combination of a committed education and a caring community, Olatunji has been able to help those in her community have positive experiences with school like she did.

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