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Students helping students

Each one, teach one: Lakeridge student tutors help peers make the grade
by: VERN UYETAKE Junior Emily Gauri helps another student with algebra.

Lakeridge High School students have few excuses for not getting their homework done on time.

They can get one-on-one assistance every afternoon at school and for free. Whether they need help in math, science, history, English or with a foreign language, all they have to do is show up at the library and someone will be there to help them. And not just any someone. They'll get help from the school's smartest and most motivated students: members of the National Honor Society.

Membership in NHS is, of course, based on attaining high grades. The members also must contribute 20 hours of community service each year.

The school's NHS advisers, math teacher Carrie Chase and science teacher Nancy Caron, were brainstorming ideas for service projects to propose to NHS members and came up with the idea of reinstating the school's peer tutoring program.

'We wanted National Honor Society to have more of a presence at the school,' Chase said. 'We thought we'd bring back the peer tutors. We wanted the kids to give back to the Lakeridge community.'

NHS members bought into the idea, agreeing to spend half of their community service hours in the library tutoring their fellow students on math, English, science, social studies and foreign languages. A schedule was prepared so there would be coverage from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Students wishing for help just need to show up in the library with their books. Because the NHS members are juniors and seniors, they have taken most of the classes in which other students need assistance, Chase said.

'One advantage of using a peer tutor is that we may be easier to approach than a teacher,' said Anna Spalding, one of the peer tutors. 'Perhaps there is something troubling them or with the teacher's style that makes asking for help hard.'

'It's more comfortable working on calculus with someone in your class,' said Allison Heymann.

What's the most fun about being a peer tutor?

'The success of the students you are tutoring,' Heymann said. 'When they finally get it and look up and smile and say, 'That makes sense!''

The program has only been in operation since early October, but already the tutors and advisers are receiving good feedback from those being tutored.

'It's neat to build a relationship with someone you may not otherwise,' Heymann said.

Students who need assistance are encouraged to take advantage of the peer tutoring program.

'Just show up and let us help you,' NHS member Claudio Quintana said.