Students helping students
At St. John’s School, I always enjoyed participating in various extracurricular activities. The pandemic put an end to that, and I began to wonder what activities I could get involved in from home.
In June, I heard that my friend Ava Yu, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy who is from Houston, had founded a group called All Volunteer Academy to offer free online tutoring to K-8 students in Houston. The thought of becoming a tutor hadn’t crossed my mind, but I found out that Ava and other volunteer tutors, all high school students from Houston, had been tutoring kids in reading, writing, math, piano, and foreign languages! The lessons are free for students, but parents are encouraged to donate to local charities like iWrite and Houston Food Bank.
I offered to teach math and chess, my areas of expertise. Although I had never tutored before, I felt ready for this challenge. Soon, I received a request for a chess lesson and taught my first student! The lesson went well; the student was new to chess, but I was able to familiarize him with the basics of the game and some simple strategies. I then started teaching more lessons, and with each new one, I gained more experience and improved my teaching skills. I could feel real bonds beginning to form the more time I spent with my students, and I got more familiar with them as people. Teaching is something I hadn’t expected to do this summer, but I’ve found myself falling in love with it.
Tutors at All Volunteer Academy are all students who volunteer in their own time. Some of the other volunteers include Emily Nguyen from St. Agnes, Sophie Yu, Jane Johnson and Margaret He from The Emery/Weiner School, Charlie Jiu from Bellaire High School, Alex Miao from St. John’s, and Beverly Renshaw, who just completed middle school at St. John’s and is attending Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. All Volunteer Academy will continue its work into the school year, and we hope more high school students will join us to tutor local kids who need help with academics and/or extracurriculars. See allvolunteeracademy.org.
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