Sadie Lupercio smiles with two students who are members of the Alton Community Boxing Club.ALTON - Sadie Lupercio has established herself as a friendly face at Alton Middle School.

The seventh grade math teacher is a Difference Maker in the classroom and the community with her commitment to her students, most recently as the organizer of a GoFundMe for the Alton Community Boxing Club. Several of her students are members of the club, which prompted Lupercio to get involved.

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But this is just one instance of how Lupercio aims to help kids. She works every day to make sure her students are okay and goes above and beyond to check in with each of them and show them that she cares.

“My big thing of becoming a teacher was [remembering] these kids might not have somebody at home,” Lupercio said. “They might not have someone to go home to and talk to or just somebody that even cares. Maybe they have somebody at home but they don’t care. I’m not saying that’s the case, but I’m just saying I want to be that person for every kid that walks in my room. Probably a little too much. I worry if I’m failing a lot. But yeah, I just want to be that person.”

As part of that goal, Lupercio checks in with her students every day. This was how she learned about the Alton Community Boxing Club, because many of her students were eager to share their experience. She saw firsthand how several students had grown more confident as a direct result of the club. When she learned that the club needed to raise $5,000 to purchase a boxing ring, she took it upon herself to organize the GoFundMe to help them out.

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Just as the boxing club has empowered students, Lupercio hopes to encourage them in her class. She prioritizes her students’ wellbeing, and she does what she can to make sure they’re happy, healthy and well both in her classroom and outside of it.

“I’m just so excited that [the club has] provided them a place where they can feel empowered and be their best selves and work to be better at something other than school,” Lupercio said. “I teach math…Even if a lesson does not stick with a kid, I’d rather the kids be emotionally okay and feel comfortable and safe in my room and feel like they have somebody they can talk to, meaning me or even maybe a classmate. That’s my goal. Yes, I care about their education, but their mental wellbeing is more important to me.”

To that end, Lupercio has started going to more games and activities outside of school to support her students. She was at the boxing club’s most recent match, where her student Ju’Coby Womack knocked out his opponent in the first round. Lupercio was right there cheering him on with his teammates.

“I think it shows kids that you actually care. Like, you’re not just here for the 8–3, you really care,” she said. “Letting them know that they have somebody, because honestly, I think going to things that are important to them, like their matches and their basketball games or whatnot, shows that hey, she actually does care outside of my math homework that she’s assigning today…When Ju’Coby ran up to me after he won, he said, ‘Ms. Lupercio!’ I’m like, okay, I’m doing something right.”

For more information about the Alton Community Boxing Club, check out this article on RiverBender.com or donate to the GoFundMe organized by Lupercio.

Sadie Lupercio smiles with Ju'Coby Womack after his match.

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