BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville High School students have taken on leadership roles, collaborating with middle-school students to help them achieve academic success.
Since the beginning of the school year, the older students have volunteered time assisting the younger students through the Homework Club, an after school program for middle-school students.
Seniors who have been mentoring students with the program for several years said that it brings them joy to watch the younger students grow, understand a particular subject and use the skills they’ve taught them on their homework assignments.
"When you're teaching somebody something and they understand it, that's the greatest feeling ever," said senior Yifei Wu, who added that her strongest academic areas are math and science.
"You're not giving them the answers, but you teach them the process and how they can solve a problem on their own."
Niko Goutakolis, a senior who has been volunteering with the program since his sophomore year, said he got involved because he wanted to give back to the school community.
"The most rewarding aspect is being able to make connections with the middle school students," said Goutakolis. He said he makes an effort to get to know each student in order to give them the personalized attention they deserve.
The program offers a structured one-hour period for homework three times a week. The volunteers get community service hours for the work, but many of the students said they got involved out of a strong desire to give back and become engaged citizens of their community.
Sophomore Maddie Hanley, who joined the program as a sixth-grader, when she needed a set time to get her work done, said that being a mentor is a challenging but rewarding experience.
Senior Ben Grieco, who aspires to become a teacher and often assists students with their writing assignments, said the program allows him to enhance his leadership skills.
"It is inspirational and rewarding to watch the connection between our high school and middle school students," said Lisa DeSanto, a guidance counselor and the program's director. "I believe they equally benefit from their time during Homework Club."