Home­work pro­gram gets top marks

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Low­er­ing the high school drop-out rate has been an is­sue for sev­eral years now, in Que­bec, prov­ing to be a chal­lenge par­tic­u­larly in some ru­ral and iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties. The town of Stanstead has had an im­pres­sive ser­vice in place since last Septem­ber

to help its youth suc­ceed in school and, af­ter just a few short months, that’s ex­actly what it’s do­ing!

“Phelps Helps” is an af­ter school tu­tor­ing pro­gram for Alexan­der Galt High School stu­dents, run by Stanstead new­comer and a teacher her­self, Katie Lowry, and a large, vol­un­teer team of ded­i­cated Stanstead Col­lege stu­dents and lo­cal educators. I vis­ited Phelps Helps last Thurs­day to meet with the stu­dents in the pro­gram and their tu­tors, and was sur­prised to find, rather than a sub­dued, li­brary-like en­vi­ron­ment, a lively place with keen vol­un­teers, stu­dents who ar­rive ready to work, and lots of healthy snacks and juice to nour­ish all those young brains.

“This pro­gram aims not only to help the stu­dents with their home­work, but to also en­rich the ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence of lo­cal youth,” ex­plained Ms. Lowry about Phelps Helps. “Our stu­dents now seem to un­der­stand the value of ed­u­ca­tion. They talk about school here, what they like and don’t like, and now they’re coming in and telling us their grades; in the be­gin­ning some didn’t want to talk about their grades. Some of the kids were really sur­prised with their mid-term re­sults. What’s so amaz­ing about th­ese stu­dents is that they choose to be here; they’re tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ed­u­ca­tion.”

“I like the fact that you can bring your grades up a lot by coming here,” said Jas­mine Wood who was study­ing sci­ence with her tu­tor. “It’s eas­ier to study here; I’m more fo­cused and I get my home­work done faster. All of my marks have gone up,” she added.

Level two stu­dent Han­nah Wal­lace was hav­ing a lot of trou­ble in math be­fore join­ing the pro­gram. “Here my tu­tors ex­plained the math in a way that I could un­der­stand. My math mark went from 30 to 86,” she said with pride. “It’s a great pro­gram: I spend time with friends, I’m do­ing bet­ter in ev­ery­thing, and it’s nice know­ing peo­ple really care. I used to hate school but, now that I’m do­ing bet­ter, I don’t hate school so much. I’m hap­pier there and I have more friends.”

Aaron Mac Leod was at­tend­ing the home­work pro­gram for the first time, last Thurs­day, ar­riv­ing with­out prior no­tice but wel­comed heartily. “The school sent out a pa­per about the pro­gram and my par­ents saw it and told me to go,” ad­mit­ted Aaron who was quickly as­signed a tu­tor and was work­ing on a French test with him.

“Ale­sha was our first mem­ber and came here alone for the first two weeks,” said Ms. Lowry about Ale­sha Grimes. “It gives me some­thing to do af­ter school. Be­fore I came here my math marks were not good, but the math marks went up. That’s im­por­tant be­cause I want to play rugby again this year and I need good marks for that. When I used to do my school­work at home, if I didn’t know the an­swer to some­thing I would just give up; here I can get the an­swer,” com­mented Ale­sha.

One of the stu­dents at­tend­ing Phelps Helps, Louise Lachance-Har­ri­son, who couldn’t at­tend the Thurs­day ses­sion but knew I would be there, wrote me a page-long let­ter ex­press­ing her ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the af­ter-school pro­gram. “More stu­dents should take ad­van­tage of this pro­gram; it’s a good source for help­ing stu­dents with their ed­u­ca­tion. I am cur­rently a se­nior and would have liked to have done this in years past. My marks have gone up greatly; my math marks alone are cur­rently in the 90’s. The tu­tors are very gen­er­ous to be will­ing to give up their time to help us,” she wrote.

Stanstead Col­lege stu­dent Alexan­dra Place has been a tu­tor with the pro­gram since Septem­ber. “Coming here to tu­tor other stu­dents helps us with our school­work too, get­ting us to re­flect on stuff that we’ve al­ready learnt,” she com­mented. “It’s so nice to see all the stu­dents hav­ing so much success,” said Lisa Smith, a vol­un­teer teacher in the pro­gram.

Asked about the feed­back that she has re­ceived, Ms. Lowry said: “I’m in con­tact with all of the stu­dents’ teach­ers; two of our stu­dents have in­creased their math marks by 50%! The stu­dents still come here even when they don’t have home­work and they do ex­tra work. Two of our grade eleven stu­dents are now talk­ing about and plan­ning to go to Cegep.”

“I en­joy ev­ery­thing about this pro­gram,” Katie con­tin­ued. “It’s great to have this so­cial space for do­ing home­work and it’s really re­ward­ing to pro­vide those lit­tle ex­tras and then see a stu­dent come in, ec­static that they passed a math exam. I just joined the Stanstead com­mu­nity, mov­ing here in Au­gust. It’s a nice op­por­tu­nity to take part in kid’s lives and in the com­mu­nity. I’m also grate­ful to the par­ents who come to pick up their kids; they make it pos­si­ble for their kids to come. There is now a new bus stop right here af­ter school, and that is also a huge help.”

The Phelps Helps af­ter school pro­gram runs ev­ery Mon­day and Thurs­day evening, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, in the Stanstead Cul­ture and Recre­ation Cen­tre at 10 Phelps Street. The ser­vice is free and there is room for more Alexan­der Galt high school stu­dents. Any­one in­ter­ested can just stop in on Mon­day or Thurs­day or call the Cen­tre at 819 704-0660.

Katie Lowry has or­ga­nized an af­ter-school pro­gram that’s get­ting re­sults.

Photo Vix­to­ria Vanier

The stu­dents and tu­tors at Phelps Helps last Thurs­day were (l. to r. sit­ting) Ju­lian Charest, Aaron MacLeod, Alexis Routhier, Alexan­dra Place, Han­nah Wal­lace and Noemie Abdo. Stand­ing (l. to r.) were Katie Lowry, Fa­tou Di­a­gana, Vic­to­ria Mac Isaac, Ale­sha Grimes, Jas­mine Wood, Paul Gella, An­drew Nor­ris and Lisa Smith.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.