No sports. No after-school activities. No hanging out with friends.
Once their schoolwork is done, many Briarcliff High School students are looking for ways to fill their time during the state mandated school closure. For many, the new schedule has left more time for workouts, relaxing and pursuing hobbies.
Jolie Wasserman and Aiden Rutman saw it as a chance to help others.
Together, the two juniors launched a program to connect Briarcliff Manor students with tutors.
By mid-April, they had enlisted 64 high school students and a few graduates to offer free tutoring to students at all grade levels. They helping more than 40 students in the district keep up with school work.
“I felt like I wasn’t being productive enough during the day,” Jolie said about her tutoring idea.
She reached out to several friends, including Aiden, whom she has known since kindergarten. It turned out that Aiden was thinking along the same lines.
RETURNING THE FAVOR
“I thought of all the times that I needed help in high school and was fortunate enough to have access to teachers and tutors after school,” said Aiden. “I thought that I could return the favor to students in need. I also just wanted to help the community during this time.”
The 64 volunteers, who are high school students from every grade, as well as three Briarcliff High School graduates, tutor students in a variety of subjects.
For younger students, such as kindergartners and first graders, the focus is mostly on reading buddies or mentor relationships. Older students typically need help in math and reading. Upperclassmen are taught by Briarcliff High School alumni.
“The sessions are for 30 minutes each, twice a week,” said Jolie. “They are done on Microsoft Teams – every student in the district has access to that.”
Jolie also mentioned that students who’d like more or longer sessions can get that.
“Anyone who needs help can contact me or Jolie,” said Aiden. “They can also contact their teacher and ask them to get in touch with us,” he said.
The pair is not looking for personal recognition. “Our goal is to spread the word so that maybe other high schools will do the same,” Jolie said.