Today we’re featuring an organization that aims to “educate and inspire through peer based academic support.” The National Scholar Foundation Inc. was founded by high school student, Michael Nock, a peer tutor and a junior (this fall) at Wake Early College of Health and Sciences High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Michael is also pursuing an associate’s degree at Wake Technical Community College and we had the pleasure of interviewing him for this feature.
Why did you create the National Scholar Foundation?
I created the National Scholar Foundation in June of 2013 to promote the growth and development of peer tutoring as well as provide scholarship opportunities to great peer tutors. Additionally, I want to get all middle and high school students excited and interested in peer tutoring.
Can you describe your scholarship program?
We will be awarding our very first scholarship next summer. We highly encourage all middle and high school peer tutors to learn more about the scholarship by visiting our website. To give a brief summary of the competition, the application period will last through the entire school year from August 2014 to June 2015 (get more details). After applications have been scored by the scholarship review committee during June and July of 2015, the winner, finalist, and honorable mentions will be announced. The competition seeks not necessarily the peer tutor who has put in the most hours, but the one who has made the greatest impact within their community. There is currently a committed scholarship prize in the minimum amount of $500; however, this amount is expected to rise over the course of this year as we gain more support and donations.
What sparked your interest in peer tutoring?
I have always had a passion for academics as well as serving the community. As soon as I realized I could combine my passions and put them to use in peer tutoring to have a tangible impact on the community, I could not wait to get started.
I have always been involved in peer tutoring during middle school and currently in high school. Whether it is in the classroom just quickly helping a friend or outside of the classroom helping a peer in a more formal program, I am always looking for opportunities to peer tutor. For example, last summer, I was involved in cross-age tutoring with a student in the sixth grade. We had developed a regular tutoring session schedule during the summer for over a month. I had the time of my life preparing lessons and sharing insight with a friend on a subject that I love. The experience not only helped me further develop my math, communication, and teaching / planning skills, but it also inspired my friend to surpass his academic goals this year.
Do you know of any formal peer tutoring programs in the schools in your area? Do the schools you’ve attended have peer tutoring programs?
As a high school student in one of the largest school systems in North Carolina, I have noticed that there are often many peer tutoring programs in place across schools; however, they are not as successful as they can be due to the fact that the tutors and tutees share a lack of interest in the idea of peer tutoring. At the National Scholar Foundation, our mission is to change that by getting all middle and high school students excited about peer tutoring through educating them on its many benefits and providing scholarship opportunities to great peer tutors.
How has peer tutoring benefited you?
Peer tutoring has not only helped me refine my academic, teaching / communication, and organization skills, but it has also provided me with the rewarding feeling of knowing that I have served the community as well as helped educate and inspire a peer to achieve their academic goals.
What do you think are some of the qualities of a great peer tutor? Can anyone make a good peer tutor?
Anyone can be a peer tutor, but it takes someone who has a passion for scholarship, leadership, and service to be a great peer tutor.
Some parents (and educators) are uncomfortable with the idea of a student receiving academic assistance from a peer. They believe that any kind of instruction should be left to teachers only. What are your thoughts on this?
Being in a classroom with a teacher is essential to developing an educational foundation on any subject. The best way to build on this foundation is through peer tutoring. Peer tutoring helps tutors improve their knowledge, communication, and teaching skills, and it helps tutees refine their knowledge and develop an understanding of a subject from someone who they can closely relate to.
In order to accomplish our plan and to promote peer tutoring as well as our scholarship, we need the help of others. We are actively looking for junior partners (all middle and high school students welcome) to serve as Directors of School Relations between their schools and the National Scholar Foundation. Also, we are looking for senior partners for business / peer tutoring advisement in addition to corporate /affiliate partners. Anyone interested in helping grow our organization and contributing to our mission should please visit our website.