Spartans Tutor to Help Others
In the middle of the pandemic, two Skyline High School Spartans had a wonderful idea about how they could help fellow students throughout the school district here, while also assisting students in need on the other side of the world. To tackle both issues at once, they founded a free tutoring service. They do accept donations from families that want to offer something in return for the help their students receive; however, they pass those donations on to an organization that helps young people in need in India.
So far, the group has raised a little more than $1,000 by teaching more than 600 classes, said Skyline junior Aarav Karam, one of the two founders. He and Karan Malhotra said they were struck by the stark differences between life in our school district and what some students in India face.
“Whenever we go back to visit our home country, in our various native states, the impoverishment that many students face is very evident,” Karam said. “For them to not be able to afford something as simple as a pen and paper that we take as a given, shows how privileged we are, as Sammamish residents. Thus, looking for a way to help the students achieve the equal education they deserve, we decided to partner with an organization called ‘BigHelp4Education,’ which provides school supplies and other materials for the underprivileged children of India. “
When they first started the service, finding other tutors who wanted to help was a bit of a struggle, the duo said. So, they turned to a group of their close friends who were willing to serve as tutors. As the group took on more students, Malhotra and Karam were able to attract more tutors to fill out their team as well.
On average, the group currently tutors about 10 students per week, with some students taking more than one session. All classes are held via Zoom, and all donations are optional.
“Our progress so far has been very exciting and rewarding, and to a degree, we’ve been able to accomplish the goals we had starting out,” said Malhotra, who is also a junior. “That being said, we still have a long way to go, and we hope to continue to grow and support more and more students.”
Former ISD parent Angela Shin, whose family now lives in Korea, has two sons who have taken lessons with Nirvana, and said that both have benefited from the extra help.
Skyline junior Brinda Moudgalya, another tutor on the team, started helping out in June. “I really enjoy teaching, regardless of the subject matter, so this was a great opportunity for me to do what I like doing and have it help not just the students that I tutor, but also people halfway across the globe, in getting a solid education,” Moudgalya said. One of her favorite parts about the process is watching the moment when someone suddenly understands a hard lesson. “The students that I teach are very hard-working, and I enjoy sharing that feeling of finally understanding a difficult topic – whether that be math, chemistry, Spanish, etc. – it’s nice seeing it all suddenly click, to where the student can then solve similar problems with ease.”
Fellow tutor, junior Varun Dubagunta, said his goals in joining as a volunteer on the team were to connect with other students and to make a difference. “The highlights of the job for me are the students. I enjoy making them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible, and it's truly a unique experience when the students reciprocate this enthusiasm for the subject, which they often do,” Dubagunta said. “In my experience, all the students are often intelligent and amiable people who make the teaching process enjoyable."
The donations they have collected have allowed the Skyline students to sponsor 17 students in India, which helps provide supplies they need for school. To read more about the efforts, visit their website.
Editor’s note: We enjoyed hearing about this volunteer project, and wanted to share about this group of Spartans who are working to help others here in our community and in India. The district congratulates the students on their hard work, but has not evaluated or endorsed Nirvana Tutoring.