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Peer tutors seek to help fellow Cubs

Now in its fourth year of operation, Peer to Peer Tutoring (PTP), moderated by Mr. Matthew Baham of the Mathematics Department, provides students the opportunity to seek academic tutoring throughout the school year from fellow Cubs who have performed well in specific subjects.

Monday, Sept. 21, marked the beginning of this year’s PTP, and the program will run until the very last week of school.   The service is offered after school on Mondays and Wednesdays and during lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Juniors and seniors as well as any Advanced Placement or honors student who is proficient in certain subjects can take time to tutor students who are seeking help in a specific subject.

According to Mr. Baham, the program’s original goal was to make use of students who understand certain subjects well enough to tutor other students who were seeking help in academics.  

“The PTP is a great opportunity because students make themselves available to other students in search of help, and many of the tutors have, or did have, the teachers of the students that are getting tutored, so they have a good perspective of what they are teaching,” counselor Mr. Michael Denison said, “It also takes a burden off of the student’s parents because it’s free.”

Mr. Baham, who joined PTP in 2012, assumed leadership of the program after Mr. Brian Kwan, the original founder of PTP, departed from Loyola to attend medical school.  “I know math is one of the subjects that students need the most help with, so I wanted to help continue to pursue its [PTP’s] original goal of student-to-student academic mentorship and tutoring,” Mr. Baham said.

Since its inception several years ago, PTP has grown. “There are about 100 tutors this year, but I only use 6-12 tutors a day; generally, there are 7-15 students a day that get tutored, which has grown from 2 students a week during the first year of PTP,” Mr. Baham said.  “This year has the most students getting tutored than any year before–the busiest times are right after a progress report, quarter ending or a Caldwell test.”

Students who use PTP appreciate the benefits that the program provides. Freshman Henry Silva, who seeks help in geometry, attends the program at least twice a week. “It is very helpful because I know that the tutors really know the subjects that they are tutoring,” Silva said.

Freshman Govind O’Campo agreed, “It helps the kids get a point of view from someone who already took the tests and quizzes and who is familiar with how they are set up.”

The PTP program’s success depends on its approximately 100 student tutors, according to Mr. Baham.  To become a tutor, students must enroll in an extensive application process that includes submitting a two-page application form, receiving a teacher recommendation and scheduling a one-on-one interview with Mr. Baham.

Many student-tutors enroll in the program because doing so makes them eligible for awards from the California Scholastic Federation (CSF), according to Mr. Baham.

The California Scholarship Federation (CSF) was started in 1921 by Mr. Charles F. Seymour and seeks to recognize students living in the state of California who possess high standards in academics. Students can apply for an award from the CSF by mentioning that they participated in PTP.

Although PTP can lead to recognition from CSF, many student-tutors help struggling Cubs because they enjoy doing so.  “Ever since I did the HSPT Tutoring program my freshman year, I was inspired to help others whenever I could in academics,” senior tutor Joseph Ghaly said.

Mr. Baham encourages students who are looking for help in any subject to join the program.  “It is a great program that is increasing in numbers, and it can only be a benefit to those who participate in it,” Mr. Baham said.


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