BELOIT — Beloit Memorial High School National Honor Society (NHS) students are keeping active during the pandemic by helping younger students navigate distance learning.
Seniors Kylie Kamholz and Faith Sill are offering virtual tutoring with Merrill and Converse elementary students, a feat which can be more complex than one might imagine. The two organize and set schedules for more than 25 other NHS volunteers, with the girls each spending no less than seven hours a week on their tutoring duties.
The idea came out of the NHS service committee a couple of months ago, with Kamholz leading up the effort to establish a program for Converse third graders.
“I schedule a student for one day out of the month. We did it that way so it’s more flexible for schedules,” Kamholz said. “The younger students will join. Sometimes they are just bored and want to talk.”
Not only will the NHS members talk to the third graders, but will read, help with homework or play educational games with them online.
“We might do multiplication games or we could do a spelling game,” Kamholz added.
Sill, who recently started a program at Merrill, works with two teachers with different second classrooms and her tutors show up two to three times a week.
“I schedule people and then find replacements if they can’t make it that day,” Sill said. “Teachers ask us to read to students as well. I spend time looking for the right books. Kids are at all different levels so I try to find a beginner and more challenging book and split up in different groups.”
To keep her plan organized, Sill makes a Google slide and a mock calendar.
Kamholz said she schedules her tutors according to their schedules and interests.
Their work has not been without obstacles.
“We’ve had a few challenges trying to get everyone on the same link and ensuring kids are doing work. These kids are really bored and not seeing anybody,” Sill said. “It’s nice for them to have someone to talk to and explain their homework.”
Kamholz’s tutors are up to four meetings a week with Converse students, focusing on math certain days and language arts on other days. Although other tutors are there to help, Kamholz shows up to keep an eye on things.
Sill takes the same approach as she begins her new program at Merrill.
“It’s only been a week, but I’ve attended all the sessions to make sure tutors know what they are tutoring,” Sill said.
Kamholz and Sill said it’s been a great experience, and they hope to meet the younger students in-person one day.
Sill said she hopes to be a pediatrician one day and the tutoring has been good practice for being with children. They have also kept her company when she has been unable to see some of her little cousins during the pandemic.
Kamholz hopes to be a teacher.
“It’s nice to connect on a more emotional level with students,” Kamholz said. “It will be sad to pass it on to a junior. I’ve made so many bonds. It’s exciting to keep it going, and I hope it expands.”
Sill said NHS students also are working on getting a tutoring session for bilingual students at Robinson led by student Pedro Rosales.
Kamholz’s team at Converse includes these students: Pedro Rosales, Kana Wong, Jose Bayona, Mekhi Horton, Megan Scott, Gabrielle Traver, Orion Regenold, Kaelyn Miller, James Vences, Imelda Dominguez, Diana Sanchez, Brionna Ramirez, Brandon Dao, Kassidy Thomas, Mariana Cardenas, Karla Martinez, Janette Hernandez, Devin Hessler, Olivia Cronin, Alex Sala, Mandalyn Franks, Maggie Henthorn, Jaidyn Cox, Naoki Nikora, Karina Gonzalez, Aryanna Quinn and Katherine Kraemer
Sill’s team at Merrill includes these students: Brandon Dao, Brionna Ramirez, Devin Hessler, Ellison Heyerdahl, Jaidyn Cox, Janette Oritz-Hernandez, Karla Martinez, Katherine Kraemer, McKenna Rooney, Megan Scott, Natalie Bosco and Vanessa Ruiz-Martinez.