Hazel, SHP students celebrate successful tutoring program

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Seton Hall Preparatory School students celebrated another successful year of tutoring at Hazel Elementary School thanks to the efforts of the West Orange African Heritage Organization.

Tutors and their students enjoyed their last Wednesday afternoon together with pizza and games, posing happily for photos and already looking forward to next year. Students enjoyed the benefit of one-on-one tutoring and support, not only receiving help with homework each week but building friendships.

“It’s great to be an older brother to these kids and that’s really where a lot of the magic comes from — just seeing them look up to you and learn from you and you both grow in the process and become better people because of it,” SHP freshman Anthony Del Vecchio said in a press release.

“This program was a really rewarding and fulfilling experience, especially being able to see tangible results in terms of their academic development, overall interest and developing a sustainable future,” SHP senior Roy Samuel said in the release.

The West Orange African Heritage Organization tutoring program was spearheaded in the fall of 2001 by West Orange residents Marie Sangosse and Gwen Franklin at Washington Elementary School. The program has grown through the years to include Redwood, Hazel, St. Cloud and Gregory elementary schools. Tutors include students from Seton Hall Prep, West Orange High School and retired adult professionals who want to give back to the community.

“Many teachers reported that their pupils’ schoolwork has improved and students told their tutors how helpful the program has been to them,” Cynthia Hadley-Bailey of the WOAHO said in the release.

The tutoring programs are held once a week after school and provide assistance with homework, test preparation and special assignments. The WOAHO supplies the students and tutors with healthy snacks thanks to funds from the West Orange Rotary Community Service Awards.

“The program helps us inspire the kids and also teaches us how to be role models for the future as well,” SHP junior Bernie Chavez said in the release.

“Seton Hall Preparatory School is all about serving those within and outside of our building,” SHP English language arts teacher John Pascal said in the release. “We have been mentor partners with the West Orange African Heritage Organization and the West Orange School District for the last five years, and hope to continue to contribute our students’ abilities to the academic needs of our community’s children.”

“The WOAHO is always looking for volunteer tutors and adult coordinators to help with the program starting again in the fall,” Hadley-Bailey said. “It’s only an hour a week and the children really benefit from the help we give them.”

Graduating SHP senior Bruno Fernandes summed up his three years of tutoring at Hazel by saying: “It has been fulfilling and enjoyable every moment, seeing the kids smile as I come in the classroom, and making me feel great about working with them. I love this program.”

For more information on the West Orange African Heritage Organization tutoring program, contact Chairwoman Doris Moses at 973-868-0295 or visit www.woaho.org.

Photos Courtesy of Cynthia Cumming