Donna Pulito was sitting in a classroom at a local school as an observer, in the course of studying Anthropology of Education at UNF, when she noticed it.
“It was coming from the teachers,” she says, still embarrassed at the memory. “It made me feel like there were things I could change, and maybe do better.”
It wasn’t long until Ms. Pulito changed her minor to Education. “It changes things, viewing education through an anthropological lens. I love kids. Why not be the difference for them?”
Ms. Pulito grew up in Jensen Beach, Florida, a small town on the east coast just north of Palm Beach. She started out studying Journalism at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC before moving to Jacksonville, where she graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.
For many years, Ms. Pulito has studied the intricate similarities and differences in how children from different cultures consume knowledge. Throughout college, she worked with children of different ages and learning differences in a variety of settings. Previously, she spent summers working as a Camp Counselor with the Martin County Parks and Recreation Department and as an After-School Program Leader at the J.A.S.E. Program. She interned at St. Clair Evans Elementary School and Twin Lakes Middle School, and after graduating was a Long-Term Substitute Teacher at the Waverly Academy.
A few years ago, Catapult Tutoring brought on Ms. Pulito to work with kids in Reading, Language, and Math at DePaul School of Northeast Florida, and that’s where she found her home.
“These kids want to learn so badly. They work so hard for those gains, just struggling to be everything they can. They pay attention in class, but it still takes time for them to get it. I want them all to be successful. They deserve that. At DePaul, we find those strengths and show them just how awesome their potential is.”
Each DePaul teacher brings a different strength to the classroom, and Ms. Pulito’s learning space is full of humor.
“I show the kids we can be silly and have fun in the course of learning a lesson. Our kids are used to school being boring and robotic, so when they see me laughing and dancing around the room, they know they can be themselves, make mistakes in trial and error, and let loose of their worries.
I teach the kids to love themselves and be proud of their accomplishments, even celebrating the little things. Seeing their faces light up, watching their confidence just build and build—there’s just nothing like it.”