By Derek Hanke
Some students go through school with little knowledge of what a peer tutor does. A peer tutor is a student who helps other students overcome their difficulties and achieve success.
Senior Molly Lessig’s inspiration for becoming a peer tutor came early in her high school career.
“During my sophomore year I sat next to a kid in class with special needs and helped him. Then, I heard about a program over the summer where you could help other kids with special needs out and I fell in love with it,” said Lessig.
This summer program and her following career in school as a peer tutor helped to shape her perspective on life.
“Earlier in highschool I was selfish, but then I started channeling my energy into helping others. I really enjoy being able to help others besides myself,” she said.
Lessig said that the peer tutor program plays a valuable role in our school.
“Being there to encourage students with special needs helps them see that their are kids without disabilities that want to see them succeed,” said Lessig.
Fellow peer tutor Dylan Adkins expressed similar views about the peer tutor program.
“The peer tutor program influences our school a lot, because many of students need help with different classes and sometimes they can’t get the help they need by themselves,” said Adkins.
Adkins feels that there is a need for peer tutors at our school.
“Everyone needs help sometimes and it’s not a bad thing if you do. If you need a peer tutor, it does not mean you are failing all your classes, but it means you need help,” he said.
Peer tutors duties range anywhere from being gym partners to reading out loud.
“My daily activities of being a peer tutor include checking students homework and helping them complete it,” said Adkins.
School counselor and special education facilitator Larry Schellenberg said that being a peer tutor has a lasting impact on a student.
“Many times, being a peer tutor changes how a student sees the world in terms of how we all have our own needs and deficits that we must overcome. Many of the students become more empathetic towards others as part of the job,” said Schellenberg.
He also said that the peer tutor program helps certain students achieve success.
“The peer tutor program makes our school more accepting of other’s individual needs; it helps our struggling students become more successful and a larger part of our school community.” said Schellenberg.
Schellenberg does not know what the school would be like without peer tutors.
“I can’t imagine what our school would be like without them. We would have a lot more kids failing classes and having behavioral issues if it weren’t for peer tutors,” he said.
Being a peer tutor has led many students to pursue careers in helping those with special needs according to Schellenberg.
“I can think of at least six students who have chosen to help special needs students in my four years here at FC,” said Schellenberg.
Lessig is planning on pursuing a career in helping those with special needs.
“I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in helping those with special needs last summer. Helping out people with special needs lets them make friends and have new interactions throughout the day. It helps mainstream them into society,” said Lessig.
Lessig encourages anyone who is considering being a peer tutor to go ahead with it.
“Anyone interested in being a peer tutor should do it, because if you’re motivated for it you’ll get a lot out of it,” she said.