ESLC Celebrates Literacy Through Tutors

With the first nice days of summer setting in, the East Side Learning Center hosted its Annual Appreciation Event on May 17th.  Students, families, staff and tutors gathered to celebrate the success of ESLC students throughout the 2018-2019 school year and to honor the tutors who have made it all happen. Tutors work one-on-one with struggling student readers. Tutors are guided by ESLC’s site coordinators and everyone works toward literacy for the children of the East Side. 

Each year ESLC gives acknowledgement to those who have gone above and beyond in their dedication through three different awards; the Mary Riehle Service Award, the Theresa Gerhardinger Mission Award, and the Partnership Award. In a change from last year, each of ESLC’s five sites awarded a winner for the Mary Riehle Service Award.  


The Mary Riehle Service Award is given to a tutor that exemplifies unconditional commitment to children, they believe in making a difference in the life of a child, they nurture an atmosphere of concern by treating others with dignity and respect, they promote unity and compassion while working for diversity, equity and inclusion, and finally, they embody the spirit of ESLC and its mission of “unlocking each child’s potential through the foundation of reading.”  

The winners for the Mary Riehle Service Award are as follows: 

Bruce Vento Elementary: Brooks Donald 

Community of Peace Academy: Rita Pratt 

HOPE Community Academy: Carol Johnson 

John A Johnson Achievement Plus: Kathryn Hoffmann 

St. Paul Music Academy: Karen Dudley 


The Theresa Gerhardinger Mission Award is given to an ESLC employee that exemplifies integrity, honesty and respect for others. They model a love of learning and supports others in learning. They uphold ESLC’s mission, instructional philosophy and core values. And finally, they promote unity and compassion while working for diversity, equality and inclusion.  

The winner for the Theresa Gerhardinger Mission Award was ESLC’s Pre-Kindergarten Coordinator Kathy Cosmano. Nominated for this award were Shoua Khang, Sr. Rita Jirik, SSND, and Mary Fritz.  

“She [Kathy] is mission focused and always tries to think “big” picture. Kathy has shown fidelity to the ESLC mission and core values in developing the Pre-K program. She sees alternatives, is open-minded and willing to invest time and energy for the organization. She is an excellent tutor! Kathy knows how to motivate young readers and cares deeply in wanting children to succeed. She has a good rapport with children, tutors, staff and partners.” - Anonymous nomination 


The Partnership Award goes to an organization that demonstrates a relationship characterized by respect, equity and engagement in all aspects of the partnership, those that show dedication and support for the work of ESLC, contributes to the mission by promoting collaboration through gifts of time, talent or treasure.  

The winner of the Partnership Award was Community of Peace Academy. Also nominated for this award were the YMCA Beacons Student Success After School Program, AARP Experience Corps Twin Cities, and HOPE Community Academy. 

“CPA actively includes ESLC in the school community. Communication and collaboration between ESLC staff, classroom teachers, and administration is grounded in trust and a common mission to help students achieve the greatest success possible.” - Anonymous nomination 

ESLC was able to celebrate tutors and attendees with many donated gifts, gift cards and food donations from community organizations and businesses. ESLC thanks the following event sponsors: 

  • Grandma’s Bakery 
  • Morelli’s Discount Liquor Meats and Italian Market 
  • Dairy Queen 
  • Baldinger Bakery 
  • Old Dutch Foods 
  • Saint Paul Brewing 
  • Allie Chiropractic Clinic 
  • YMCA 
  • Kendall’s Ace Hardware 
  • Culver’s St. Paul 
  • Minnesota Vikings 
  • Capstone 
  • Brave North Technology 
  • Costco Charitable Giving 
  • Vertical Endeavors 
  • Yarusso’s  
  • Tongue in Cheek 
  • Brunson’s Pub 
  • Magnolia’s Restaurant 
  • St. Paul Saints