WPI students help with tutoring
By Carlos Zapata, associate editor, NewspeakIt's not often that people get to make a difference in other people's lives. However, for a group of WPI students this chance came once a week during the academic year, when members of the Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE) devote d an hour to tutoring 15 high school students from Worcester's John Laws Institute (JLI). The institute is part of Dynamy, a national student development organization whose primary goals are to academically assist youth and encourage them to attend colleg e.
Operated almost entirely by WPI students, the tutoring program was started in 1994 by Joshua Arias, then president of SHPE, to help Worcester teenagers. "The goals of the program were expanded as members realized they could serve not only as tutors, but a s role models," says Andrew Quirk, who heads SHPE's Social Services and Actions Committee. "As college students we complement the goals and objectives of the John Laws Institute."
The program helps high school students develop skills so they can complete their high school educations and continue on to college. These are not problem students, says Quirk, but individuals who need support to make it through high school.
The impact of the WPI tutors goes beyond math and science. "The high school students were really excited when they found out we were continuing the program this year," says Quirk. "They really like it. On one evaluation form, a JLI student wrote, 'My teac her lectures to me and he tells me how to do a problem. ...but this student, who is not a professional teacher but someone who took the time out of his day to sit down with me and show me how to do each problem individually, helped me on the subject but a lso got me interested in other subjects. This is someone who made it to college. And I can make it, too. I can reach that goal.'"
Members of SHPE invited the high school students to campus for two days in March to introduce them to college life. The JLI students toured WPI facilities and attended classes with their tutors.
The tutoring program was recently honored as one of the best programs among the 150 SHPE chapters nationwide.
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