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Sanneh Spotlight: Alexander Reigelsperger

Sanneh Spotlight returns! The series introduces Sanneh members to the world on a personal level. Through interpersonal interviews, Spotlight aims to build connections between community members and the Sanneh team.

Snapshot: 

Alexander is a Dreamline Coach at North High School. Alex is originally from Dayton, Ohio, and has been at Sanneh for 6 months. He has a soft spot for Greek food, his favorite meal is baklava and gyros. Alex is a big fan of rap music, some of his favorite artists are Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, aka Griselda, Action Bronson, NoName, Freddie Gibbs, and Boldy James. If Alex isn’t cooking or baking, he is reading, especially about political activists, like  Jose Carlos Mariategui, who inspire his work.

What inspired you to pursue this work? 

My own struggles and lived experiences as a young person. When I was younger  I lacked meaningful connections with the adults in my education system.  This experience really inspired me to do the work I’m doing right now, to BE the adult for young people that I didn’t have growing up. I am also inspired by my passion for people like Jose Carlos Mariategui, who saw the most political, educational, and loudest voices for change come from young people gathering and working together.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?

It has made it more challenging to reach out to young people. It has also made a lot of the education system’s disparities, which were once “hidden,” very visually noticeable. So, finding ways to honestly and accurately navigate these issues and conversations has been affected by the covid pandemic. Making sure to create time for myself, even if it is just a short walk outside of the school to ground myself or have some “me time,” has helped me stay grounded throughout this difficult time.

What part of your job is something people don’t usually see?

The amount of work that actually goes into the job. Most people just see the amazing things we do when we are here from 7:30 am-4:00 pm, but rarely do they see what happens when we work from home or the conversations and connections that carry on and impact our everyday lives.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of the job is navigating conversations that involve the systems or people within those systems. For instance, questions about why teachers navigate things a certain way, why college or university is so expensive, and why ACTs and standardized testing is “important.” Having to navigate these conversations while a teacher is around or while they are IN school is quite challenging.

How do you nurture your students’ creativity? 

I have asked my students that are artists to create something for our room. I make sure they have the resources they need to be creative. So, I have a student working on a drawing, one working on a painting, one working on a poster, and another one building something with wood such as a small bookshelf.

Is there anything else you want to say about your work or life that you haven't been asked about?

I have realized I dislike the idea that “youth” workers (such as those doing our job) are not paid enough, because there is not enough money in the world to pay folks in roles like this what they deserve.