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Meet the seven Pingry seniors—equally committed in the classroom as they are in their sport—who earned this year's conference, county, Prep, and state honors. 

In My Own Words, Remote Learning Edition: Olivia Gallucci '22

By Olivia Gallucci '22

I wish I could say that the idea of virtually tutoring Middle School students was my own, but it unfortunately was not. A few days into remote learning and quarantine, a representative from the Board of Education at the public school I used to attend posted on Facebook that she was looking for high school students to virtually tutor Middle School students for free.  I immediately reached out to her, as I had a great experience with a peer tutor in the past. During my freshman year my advisor recommended I work with an upperclassman from Pingry, to help me with math. I was struggling with both adapting to the new curriculum and the overall content. I was eventually paired with a student from the current senior class, and we met about once every cycle. She was able to help me with not only the content of the course, but with adjusting to the new school. 

Unfortunately, after a quick conversation with the woman in charge, we realized that it would be nearly impossible for me to communicate with the Middle School students due to the different tools being used throughout each school district. Knowing this woman personally for a few years now, we both agreed that it would be best for me to try and start something similar at my own school instead. I started by reaching out to my advisor, Ms. Mahida, to see how I should go about getting this program started. She got back to me very quickly and sent my information over to Mr. Thomas, the Middle School Academic Dean, who has been very helpful to this day.  

After working on this with him for over a month now, Dean Thomas and I have gathered a group of 12 total Upper School students (eight of whom I recruited, and four of whom came from Upper School Academic Dean Dr. Cottingham), who have all kindly agreed to draw from their own skills and be virtual tutors. Just recently, all nine of us have been paired with our own Middle School student. The plan is to meet about once a cycle—or in some cases, once a week—for at least 30 minutes, where the student is able to receive help on any subject they need.

I have been paired with a sixth-grade boy. We have met a few times now through Google Meet, and have already started to create a bond. We typically meet after "school," at around 3:00 p.m. and choose a day of the week that works best for the both of us. I try to schedule meetings on days that are going to be rainy or a little chilly so that he is able to have his afternoons free on the days that are nice out. The past few times we have met we have gone over Spanish and I have been able to help him with his homework when needed.

As tutors, we are not only able to help the Middle Schoolers succeed in their remote classes, but we are able to act as mentors and help prepare them for the Upper School. We understand that this is a hard time for parents with younger children, which is why it is comforting to know that something positive will come out of this unfortunate time. Although I do not believe I would have thought to create this program were it not for remote learning, I plan to continue it when we all return back to campus, and as it is a great experience for not only the Middle School students, but the Upper Schoolers involved as well.  

Below are the names of the 12 Upper School student tutors: 

Bella Vieser '22
Daniel Yanez '22
Michelle Lee '22
Anna Riley '22
Ansley Higgins '22
Emmet Houghton '22 
James Houghton '22
Sydney Stovall '21
Olivia Gallucci '22
Chris Waltzinger '20
Sulayman Tariq '21
Aidan Boylan '21

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,