Club Spotlight: Meeting Street Academy Tutoring

An overview of the MSA Tutoring Club and its activities

An image of Meeting Street Academy from the front

Charleston City Paper

An image of Meeting Street Academy from the front

When you hear the phrase “community service,” what do you picture? Maybe you see yourself walking down the highway collecting trash or working at a food bank carrying crates of water from point A to B. While these activities definitely benefit the community, I know from personal experience that many students regard these as a simple way of checking the box at the end of the year. For those of you reading that might be a freshman or an uninformed transfer student, this might be a (pleasant or otherwise) wake up call for you. Every student at AMHS is required to complete a total of thirty hours of community service per year, in order to emphasize the importance of giving back and supporting your community. However, despite seeming like a daunting and tedious task, I found that it can actually be something to look forward to- No, I’m not being paid to write this (I really wish I was). This article is going to feature a club at AMHS called Meeting Street Academy Tutoring. What is the goal of this club, you may ask? 

Well, as the name suggests, MSA members volunteer 1-2 times a week to help teach and nurture the young minds of the students of Meeting Street Academy in downtown Charleston. However, despite my experience at MSA over the past 4 years, I felt that as the writer of this article, my opinions would probably be a little bit biased. So, I decided to interview a number of members of MSA, in order to get the most impartial view of the club as possible. 

The first interview I conducted was with Pedro Araujo, the only returning underclassman  I was able to pin down. 

Sophomore Interview– Pedro Araujo

Q: “Can you give me a description of the club from your perspective? As in, what activities stand out to you personally and what aspects of the tutoring do you enjoy the most?”

A: “I just enjoyed being able to help little kids because I know that’s when they start to learn their best. I liked being able to participate in their recreational activities such as playing basketball with them as well as watching and participating in the ‘speech and debate’ club that you and Davis started last year.”

 

Q: “How and why would you recommend this club to other underclassmen?”

A: “I would recommend it because it’s an easy and yet impactful way of getting your service hours. I really actually like going because its a fun way to get my hours. I get to play with these little kids and it makes me feel good knowing that I’m spending my time setting these kids up to be successful and I’m having a lot of fun while doing it. Also, the seniors are really nice and were happy to give me a ride to MSA whenever I needed one.”

 

Following Pedro’s interview, I was able to ask some of the returning seniors on their thoughts on the club in order to get a broader perspective. 

 

Senior Interview– Davis Leath 

Q: “When did you first join Meeting Street Academy Tutoring?

A: “I joined sophomore year. The program was a lot smaller and a lot  different when I joined, but it grew  my junior year (2018-2019) and it’s gonna be bigger than ever this year. The club was a lot more niche when I first joined and we only tutored a handful of kids, but last year we tutored three grades and had around 15 tutors in total.”

Q: “What were your initial thoughts on the club before you joined and how (if at all) were those views altered/influenced after you had joined and personally experienced the tutoring?”

A: “I didn’t know that we would have as great an impact on the kids’ lives as we do.”

 

Senior Interview– Simone Kavarana 

Q: “As one of the most dedicated tutors and founding members of the ‘refurbished’ MSA club, what would you say is the most important positive element of the club for both the tutors and the kids?”

A: “I think the kids who are obviously very young definitely benefit from an older and wiser ‘mentor’ to look up to, and ironically the mentors seem to learn just as much from the kids.”

 

Q: “What is your favorite moment/experience that you’ve had at MSA thus far?”

A: “On Valentines Day when we went to tutor all the kids had made us personal cards as well as goody bags with candy in them. I still have mine despite the fact they all spelled my name wrong.” 

 

Senior Interview: Ella Lesesne 

Q: “If you’ve done any other community service, how would you say it compares to MSA in terms of enjoyment for the volunteers, as well as how you think it compares to other forms of community service in terms of net benefit to the community?”

A: “I went to the homeless shelter at 180 Place and served food at the soup kitchen and I loved that but I felt like it was a lot less direct than with MSA,. When I leave MSA I feel like I have made a real impact on the kids because I have actually been able to interact with the kids rather than ‘blindly’ scooping food, and I also get to spend time with my friends as well as being able to form relationships with kids who might not have that mature mentoring presence in their lives.”

 

Q: “As one of the more invested MSA tutors, what are your opinions on the ‘power rankings’ discussed among the club members last year and how do you think you would place in that ranking?”

A: “I noticed when girls, such as Simone and myself were there we were consistently at the top of the leaderboards, but I’m really not trying to brag here ;). However, due to my roots as a South Carolina fan, I was very much at the bottom of the rankings when it came to the third graders. Some of these students clashed with my support for the team but I know that deep down they loved me and deep down I loved them too. Oh, and go Cocks!”

 

Although Ella was the last of my interviews, I thought that the different perspectives provide a really good overview of the ideas and activities of MSA Tutoring. I really hope that this article provided an explanation to anyone who might have had questions about the club, and if anybody is interested in joining please speak to senior and club president Davis Leath, myself, or any of the members who were interviewed in this spotlight. We hope to see you all there!

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