Scholarly Helpers

KCHS Students Earn Community Service Hours Tutoring at Santa Lucia Elementary School

Clarissa Rios, Contributor

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Beginning the first week of November in 2018, KCHS junior, Adrian Alonzo, and a handful of others started tutoring students at Santa Lucia Elementary School, specifically aiming  the tutoring towards fourth grade students. The Scholarly Helpers is a new club at KCHS started by Alonzo (president of the club) with the goal of increasing academic achievement for the youth in King City, while earning community service hours at the same time.

The scholarly helpers group is comprised of about 12 KCHS students ranging from freshmen to juniors. Each Tuesday and Thursday, a group of three head over to the elementary school to begin their tutoring session at 3:15 and finish up within an hour. The students in the club created a schedule for the Spring that lists the individuals names along with dates that they are required to go help at the tutoring sessions.

Alonzo noticed that many elementary school students seemed to be behind in their academics. He delved deeper into the topic and found that the students were performing low especially in areas of reading comprehension and mathematics. This current problem has even begun to affect students who entered high school this year. Alonzo recalls one of his cousins advising him that many of her friends had been put in a remedial math class for their freshmen year.

Alonzo believes that not developing math or reading skills in elementary school sets up those students for a botched high school career in the future. This is where his inspiration to begin a tutoring club began. By starting a club that caters to both high school and elementary school students, he ultimately hopes that the youth can develop their required math and reading skills while also earning the high school students community service hours.

Prior to getting the club members at their tutoring sessions, Alonzo had to follow a process of finding a club advisor, asking permission from the elementary school principal, filling out new club paperwork, and put together a schedule. Although the club was off to a bumpy start with only a handful of members going to the elementary school, Alonzo plans to seek out new members in order to expand the club for the next school year. “I want to expand it not only to other elementary schools,” Alonzo stated, “but possibly to the middle school as well.”

Luis Morales, KCHS junior, is another member of the scholarly helpers club this year. Morales saw the club as the perfect opportunity to help out younger students. He shared, “I see kids nowadays that are really falling behind compared to previous years.” Because of this, Morales regularly attends all of the tutoring sessions. During the sessions he primarily focuses on helping students with their math homework and demonstrates easy to follow step-by-step methods that don’t immediately drain them, but instead help them complete their work.

Maria Rocha, KCHS junior, has also been attending the tutoring sessions. Although only being a junior, Rocha already felt behind in the amount of community service hours that she had compared to her classmates which is why she felt more inclined to join the club.

She focuses on helping the elementary school students with math, specifically fractions. “Math is sometimes a little bit tricky for them, so I’m glad to be helping them with that,” she expressed. Compared to the years that she attended elementary school, Rocha noticed a shift in the way that certain math topics are now being taught. Although the new ways of teaching math have shifted, some students struggle with comprehending the new methods. This is why Rocha focuses on helping students develop skills in their problem areas. Eventually the students will find that working on their homework can be a relishing experience once they understand how to solve the problems.

Starting the club ended up having a far greater effect than helping elementary students with school work, and high school students with community service hours. The club served a key role in Alonzo’s inspiration to dedicate a research project to elementary student reading comprehension. As a part of the AP Research course offered at KCHS, the students enrolled in the class conduct their own research on a topic of their choice and write a paper on that topic. Alonzo had struggled earlier this fall with finding a topic that was of interest to him, and feasible to conduct. Now Alonzo has solidified his research topic which involves him analyzing methods that can aid in improving comprehension levels in elementary students.

The scholarly helpers club definitely made a change for the elementary school students. In comparison to the first couple of weeks that the club started, the elementary students were able to work out math problems much easier on their own now, and immediately delve into their work. Those students have also been able to strengthen areas like spelling and reading. If the club can increase their membership, then it will undoubtedly be able to help students of every grade develop important skills in different subjects.