Mr. Tom is Tom Culotta, 61, a sturdy man with salt and pepper hair and an easy smile. Forty years ago, he sat down at his kitchen table to help his 12-year-old neighbor with his homework, and never stopped. Along the way he built an academic and mentoring high school with an accelerated three year program, approved by the Maryland Board of Education, and prepared hundreds of students to graduate from high school, go on to college, and lead stable, productive lives. The school gets no government funding, and survives through donations, a modest weekly tuition of $25 per student, and fundraising, such as the sale of pizzas and Christmas wreaths. The roots of the school grew out of a need within the Remington community. In the late 1970s the neighborhood children were dropping out of school at rates between 65 and 85 percent. Culotta started plucking kids off the street and tutoring them wherever he could—an abandoned building turned youth center at the corner of Lorraine Avenue and Howard Street or local church social halls. In January 1982, he and others founded the Community School in the basement of the Church of the Guardian Angel, and moved it to its present home on Huntingdon Avenue and 30th Street in 1998.