Around F.C.

Tutoring Demand Doubles at TJHSST Sessions in Annandale

tutoringThe turnout of children seeking free tutoring in Annandale from a group of volunteer Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) students has more than doubled in the last two weeks.

 

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FRESHMAN Kevin Cao (right) tutors children in Annandale. (Photo: Courtesy Kevin Cao)

 

The turnout of children seeking free tutoring in Annandale from a group of volunteer Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) students has more than doubled in the last two weeks.

TJHSST freshman Kevin Cao and senior Colvin Wang of Fairfax started the complimentary service, aimed at low-income elementary school-aged children earlier this month. The number of kids, hailing from schools like Belvedere Elementary and Crestwood Elementary, has gone from seven to 20 in just two weeks, 14-year-old Cao told the News-Press Tuesday.

Cao, Wang and nearly 20 of their peers host a two-hour session every Sunday afternoon at the Mason District Governmental Center in Annandale. There, they help children with their homework and tutor specifically in areas requested by school counselors and parents. While the gamut of topics is endless, Cao said the two most common subjects kids need help with are reading and math.

“Though at Thomas Jefferson the focus is mainly on science and technology, the next most common subject we’re good at is math, which was a big winner with the parents,” said Cao.

This year, TJHSST participated in a One Question Project, where students at the school were asked a thought-provoking question at the start of the school year to ponder for its remainder. Cao said this year’s question was: What are the social responsibilities of educated people?

Cao and Wang, who’s the vice president of the service-oriented TJHSST honor society, decided the answer was to share their knowledge and make a difference. After recruiting fellow volunteers – an equal mix of male and female freshmen, sophomores and juniors – the initiative launched on April 18 after more than a month of planning.

No stranger to the tutoring scene, Cao has been lending a helping hand at Belvedere Elementary in Falls Church every Wednesday since last October.

“Tutoring at Belvedere showed me how much I enjoy giving back. I figured if I enjoyed it so much, why not start my own tutoring service?” said Cao, who added the tutors often use board games and candy to break the ice with sometimes-hesitant children.

And the method must be working.

Just last week, one child blurted, “This is better than school.” Cao said that’s exactly the plan, to get kids excited about learning.

Wang said the volunteering goes hand in hand with not only his schedule, but his values too.

“Since I’m a senior, my schedule is a little more laid back. With the call for social responsibility, I definitely had the free time to do some volunteering,” said 17-year-old Wang, who will attend the University of Virginia next fall studying engineering.

Cao and company offer free tutoring for elementary school students every Sunday from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center (6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale). For more information, call 571-215-0467.