Return to Headlines

High school students give up their evenings to tutor middle schoolers

Seventeen-year-old Maria Rivera Garcia volunteered her time tutoring students in the Harris Middle School library.

She’s one of several students from Madison high school who offers to help struggling students during a campus event called the ‘Supper Club,’ held once every grading period.

Students RSVP to the event which is held in the evening from 3:30-7:30 p.m.

“I think it’s important because we are helping the students be more encouraged and have help outside of their classroom. So, if they are not feeling well in their class, they can always rely on us to help them through it,” Garcia said.

The afterschool tutoring session was crafted by Harris Middle School’s Academic Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, Jamie Duderstadt.

Duderstadt has been at Harris for six years and in education for sixteen years.

They have pencils, they’ve got computers, but more importantly we’re paired up with Madison who send their kids to come and help. We even have college tutors here that have graduated from Madison and they keep coming back,” she explained.

One of the students from Madison High School also volunteered his time for two hours before a soccer game that same night.

Retired teachers like Mr. Norm Goldberg also made sure to attend the event and help out.

Eleven-year-old Ava Villarreal was catching up on her Social Studies and Science during the Supper Club.

She said she appreciated the tutors who volunteered their evening to be here.

“I like how they are still in high school and they are still learning so we can relate to more stuff,” the sixth-grader said.

Tutor Maria is a former Harris Hawk herself and hopes to be a pediatric nurse one day because she’s always had a passion for helping young children.

She said the interpersonal skills she is getting from helping to tutor kids will ultimately help her in the future.

“I’m glad to be back and have the opportunity to help other students out,” the high school senior said.

Because helping one another is what it’s all about, Ms. Duderstadt said.

“When I chose teaching, it was really important to me to make a difference for every single kid. for the kids who are high-performing, for the kids who are in the middle of the road, and the kids especially who are having a really tough time right now. If I can pull them up by their bootstraps, I’m going to do it,” the former Eisenhower student said.

She said the parents are also thankful to be part of a community that cares about each and every student.

During the Supper Club, the PTA board members wait for and set up pizza for the kids.

“It’s truly a labor of love,” Harris High School Principal Jeremi Niehoff said.

“Bringing in the Madison people, PTA brings all the pizza and they pay for it, we have a lot of support. I really like the community feel that it’s become. It started out like let’s make sure none of these kids fall between the cracks and now it has become something much more,” Ms. Duderstadt said.

Discover the NEISD way, where our educators collaborate with volunteers to make a difference for students every day.

Ashley Speller