NDA Students Tutor at St. Thomas More After School, More Tutors Needed

NDA Students Tutor at St. Thomas More After School, More Tutors Needed

Riley Guyette, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame students who aren’t involved with the National Honor Society (NHS) are now able to spend their time tutoring at St. Thomas More, a faith-based PK-8 school, to help younger students with their reading skills that were harmed due to the pandemic. 

The program runs on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:15-4:30 p.m at St. Thomas More and has students reading in small groups to younger students, stopping every once in a while to ask questions that will check for comprehension. 

This project has been around since this past fall and was co-developed by Spanish teacher Doctora Diane Mulroney. 

Mulroney holds the role of the National Honor Society (NHS) moderator, meaning that she is responsible for organizing the school’s service project—tutoring. 

She explained, “We base our service in tutoring because, in addition to addressing our mission and core values, it allows our members to share their talents in our school and local community and helps all students reach their full academic potential.”

Because she holds this role, Mulroney was approached by NDA’s current principal, Mr. Patrick Browne, and told that there was a need for tutors at St. Thomas More. 

“I saw this as a great opportunity for all NDA students, not just NHS members, because it fits perfectly with our mission and core values,” she said. “It is also a great way to make connections with younger students, to serve as role models and to encourage them to come to NDA.” 

Soon after this, the Spanish teacher went to work on developing the program alongside Janice Willems, a teacher at the school and the on-site coordinator of the tutoring program. 

Mulroney spends her energy recruiting Notre Dame students and explaining all of the details about getting to the building, parking and where to go. 

Meanwhile, Willems organizes the tutors and verifies students’ hours on x2VOL. 

Helping students serve the community is a passion for Mulroney. 

“I love learning and growing, and I want our students to love it too, so I try many different things to help them discover that feeling.”

Student members of the NHS have already spent some of their time this past semester tutoring at the school.

One such student is junior Maria Nolle, who started tutoring at the beginning of the second quarter and only recently stopped due to the track season beginning. 

“I decided to tutor at St. Thomas More because it seemed like a good opportunity to help the students and a unique way to interact with and get to know some of the people in younger grades that might be planning on going to Notre Dame in the future,” explained the volunteer. 

Nolle has also had experience working with younger children in the past, so tutoring for younger students seemed like a worthwhile experience. 

Brenedyn Barajas, a fellow junior, tutored for two quarters and has gotten a lot out of the time spent. 

Barajas was prompted to begin tutoring after she saw the opportunity on the ASTRA club’s document and received an email saying that a teacher had recommended her for the program due to her ability to speak and read both Spanish and English. 

For the junior, seeing the looks on a student’s face after they have an ‘I understand now’ moment was the best part of the experience.

“My ability to help others has gotten way better and helped me gain confidence,” said Barajas. “Now that I know I can be of great help with my Spanish speaking and reading skills, I can continue to look for opportunities to assist students struggling in those areas.” 

Students interested in volunteering at the school are encouraged to email Mulroney at [email protected] and more details will be provided.