NHS members tutor their way to success

Junior Megha Jacob leads math tutoring small group at the middle schools


A. Panier

A high school student works on a math problem in Raider Aid.

By Abby Panier

When someone mentions a tutor, what comes to mind? Maybe a college student trying to make extra cash, a parent doing their best to remember the anatomy of a cell, or an overwhelmed math teacher in Raider Aid.
Junior Megha Jacob and her band of bright volunteers are changing that.
Jacob and senior Jaclyn Khoo are co-leaders of their small group, a separate section of NHS that has a specified goal and is student-run. This year’s target? Providing one-on-one academic help to middle school students and even some in high school.
“It’s really great to help the students, especially after COVID-19 some have been struggling with math,” Jacob said. “So I think it’s a nice, easy way for them to get some help by just completing their homework.”
Although NHS tutors inevitably help middle school students with all subjects, Jacob claims math as her favorite, because it has always come easy to her. With her notable academics combined with her natural ability to lead, it is no surprise that Jacob has also thrived in Student Council, Science Olympiad, Future Business Leaders of America, and tennis.
When Jacob approached Khoo for help leading a volunteer tutoring group, Khoo believed that this was her way of giving back, not just to the community, but to her past teachers as well.
“You can help out the kids and help out the teachers while you’re at it,” Khoo said. “The teachers helped you, so [now] you help the teachers when you get a chance.”
The math tutors have seen a monumental increase in attendance at Heineman and Marlowe’s Homework Clubs since the start of the school year. As word spreads about the teenage mentors, more and more teachers and parents are requesting one-on-one sessions for their students.
“I think that it’s natural that students make better connections with people that are closer in age to them and probably understand and empathize with what they’re going through,” said William Johnson, principal of Marlowe Middle School.
“I think that we can be great role models for them, especially since they have not been in high school yet and they don’t know what will happen to them in high school,” Jacob said. “So I think just seeing us is a good example of what we’re going through.”
Jacob and her volunteers are not just tutors, they are paragons of the younger students’ future. NHS members are often asked questions about high school and growing up, not just how to do systems of equations.
Johnson and Jacob both have plans to expand the tutoring program so that more students get the help they need, depending on subject and grade level. However, Jacob wants to go even further, and has been eyeing Raider Aid for a while.
“I hope that next year we can get more involved in the high school,” Jacob said. “We had a few people tutor students separately for high school, but I think it’d be really nice to be part of Raider Aid or just have a student present who is able to help.”
Either way, the future looks bright for both tutors and students. Rising interest in the program and the collaboration with administrators spells certain success for all, no matter the age.
“It has been an absolute game changer for our kids to have the ability to learn from students that are just a year or two older than them,” Johnson said. “It has really gone a long way and I think that it’s going to set our students up for success.”