Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – The Faces of the Next Generation

Name: Sara Stoner
From: Walworth, New York
Grade: 11
School: Gananda High School
Votes: 0

High school can be a trying time for many students, who juggle a number of sports and clubs, as well as their academics. I work with those who take time out of their busy schedules to meet with a tutor, whether it is to catch up on late homework, or to discover a work ethic within themselves they did not know they had. I volunteer as a math tutor once a week, every week during a 40 minute study period, working with students who are in need of one-on-one assistance in the courses they struggle in.

I am asked questions that I do not know the answers to, and for someone who is expected to help another in an area of math, it can be hard to admit to the student that I cannot help them with my own knowledge, and have to refer to a set of notes they bring to me, or a teacher. Although this can be a challenging part of tutoring, I have learned that a part of being a student tutor in high school is the importance of showing students that it is okay to ask questions when they do not understand something, especially because they will learn from them.

I was approached by a student to receive help in Geometry, as she admitted to struggling in the course. After many sessions, I could
see that she was developing an understanding of the material as she flew through problems that she didn’t know how to approach weeks
before. After we stopped sessions, agreeing to meet only if she fell behind again, she thanked me, saying that she was able raise her
grade fifteen points. Although that was the most rewarding experience from my experience volunteering as a tutor, I continue to be rewarded in every session, as I see the growth in the students I work with in the areas in which they struggle.

Tutoring is a great way for me to help others in a one-on-one setting, similar to how I will work with patients as a psychologist in the future. This is how volunteering is forward-looking to me: I am preparing for my future, while helping others to be successful in theirs. My main goal is to help people make the most out of the circumstances they find themselves in, and being a tutor parallels the guidance that I wish to give others in the future. I want to be able to help others discover confidence in themselves to achieve what will make them successful. Whether it is helping someone cope with an illness, or helping a student through an algebra problem, I want to continue to pursue paths in which I help others. I believe that my guidance helps students learn better study habits that will prepare them for their future academic endeavors and that if I look back, I can take pride in what they have accomplished academically, and that I have somehow assisted them in their academic careers.

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