Every school has its popular kids, its brainy kids, its student leaders. At Turner Tech High School in Miami, Julius Wade is all of those things wrapped up in one student. He’s a genuine star on campus, the kid who’s universally liked and admired, the student government president.
"Students ask to be in the same class with him," said Dr. Renee Posey, the director of student services at the school.
Julius is the type of student who can literally take over a class and teach the subject, which he does on a regular basis.
"He's like a teacher, but you know, a peer who's your teacher,” said Franchesca Bellevu, a sophomore who sees Julius as the ultimate role model. “I wanna be the next Julius or Julius 2.0."
In his sophomore year, Julius saw a need and decided to fill it. He started an effort to help his classmates called, "Tutoring for Academic Success."
“There was just a culture of complacency among the students and I saw that students were looking not to one another but they were looking to teachers solely for help or maybe to the internet solely for help and they didn’t have that intrinsic motivation to do as well as they could do,” Julius explained.
Three years later, his tutoring club has more than 30 students involved and they’ve helped nearly 800 of their peers in every subject.
"We believe the students have done better and we have data that shows that test scores have improved every year because of, or at least we’d like to think because of, the work that we’ve done,” Julius said.
Mishar Campbell is an honor student recruited by Julius to join the effort.
“He really wants to help the students here, he’s not just here to be the best,” Mishar said.
He is certainly on track, though, to be the best student at his school, possibly in the history of his school. Julius will be the first Turner Tech student to ever attend Harvard University.
"He really set the bar high here," Mishar said.
His teachers see Julius as a role model, and so do the students.
"I think his ethics and his hard work are an example for the other kids, they want to see that, they look for that," said Dr. Posey.
Julius likes the saying, do something that moves your soul to passion and your body to action. Now he’s trying to motivate his peers to embrace that same philosophy.
“I'd say that my best piece of advice is to, one, not settle for mediocrity and two, do what you’re passionate about,” Julius said.
Julius is passionate about helping others. It’s why he founded his tutoring club and why he’s one of the national vice presidents of HOSA, an international student organization focused on health care. Julius isn’t sure what his future holds, but he’s not the type to forget where he came from.
"My aspirations as far as a career or anything that I do after college is definitely rooted in my desire to give back to the people who’ve given to me,” Julius said. “I know that with hard work, perseverance, and faith, everything will fall into place."
From Liberty City to Cambridge, Julius Wade made it happen.