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NHS community service programs provide for peers

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NHS community service programs provide for peers

LENDING SOME LOVE: Senior Lin Tran helps Cindi Carroll hang badges on teachers' doors after school. Tran helps out Carroll of ten as part of Helping Hands.

LENDING SOME LOVE: Senior Lin Tran helps Cindi Carroll hang badges on teachers' doors after school. Tran helps out Carroll of ten as part of Helping Hands.

Photo by: Shelby Papst

LENDING SOME LOVE: Senior Lin Tran helps Cindi Carroll hang badges on teachers' doors after school. Tran helps out Carroll of ten as part of Helping Hands.

Photo by: Shelby Papst

Photo by: Shelby Papst

LENDING SOME LOVE: Senior Lin Tran helps Cindi Carroll hang badges on teachers' doors after school. Tran helps out Carroll of ten as part of Helping Hands.

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From painting walls, to editing essays, to distributing teacher badges, National Honor Society (NHS) members are directly offering assistance to the community in any way they can. Bowie has a working team of students willing to give their time to others.

This year the NHS is working to expand two of its biggest programs: Peer Tutoring and Helping Hands. As the acting Vice Presidents of NHS, seniors Will Pajak and Emily Leeke are in charge of both of these programs.

“We want to promote a very positive, friendly environment throughout the school where teachers aren’t afraid to ask for help,” Leeke said. “And [where] students aren’t afraid to jump in and help teachers, staff members, and other students when they see the chance to.”

As far as Leeke has seen, the expansion efforts are not in vain. According to her, more students and teachers have been signing up to receive assistance than they did previously.

“At the beginning of the year, some of our programs were going but they didn’t have a lot of new people coming in,” Leeke said. “As the year’s been going on, a lot more teachers have been finding out about [the programs] and students are starting to sign up and not be afraid to ask for help. It’s a cool thing to see.”

Through the Peer Tutoring program, senior Rasheek Huq has helped a couple freshmen and several seniors in their math courses. In his opinion, tutoring can be enjoyable as well as beneficial.

“I have a good amount of experience tutoring people in math and I just kind of like it, so I thought it’d be fun to help other people,” Huq said. “It’s kind of like a sense of satisfaction, being able to convey an idea to someone and help them understand a concept. It’s been more fun than I expected, actually.”

It’s kind of like a sense of satisfaction, being able to convey an idea to someone and help them understand a concept.”

— Rasheek Huq

The program also provides tutors to assist large groups of students. English teacher Kimberly Wiedmeyer enlisted the help of NHS tutors to stay after school and help OnRamps Rhetoric students on the days of their college deadlines.

“The students are used to hearing me nag on them for hours, so it’s nice to get peer feedback,” Wiedmeyer said. “The kids who have stayed after school on submission days have really benefited, especially when we’ve been able to partner them one-on-one. And so I think it’s been a real positive and I hope they’ll keep doing it next semester.”

As well as offering a new perspective on students’ essays, NHS members can provide useful information due to their personal experiences in the OnRamps Rhetoric course, according to senior Nyah Bernucho.

“It was the Friday right before Thanksgiving and the kids had a deadline that night, so a lot of them were panicking,” Bernucho said. “The girl I helped shared her essay with me and I went over it, edited it, added suggestions, and gave her hints and tips that got me the grades that I wanted in Rhetoric last year. We worked one-on-one with the kids to get their essays revised and turned in, and their essays were completely transformed by the end of the night.”

For junior Andre Sanchez, having someone with experience look over his essay saved him valuable points on his grade.

“Someone line-read my paper and saw the grammar mistakes, [which was] very beneficial because 10% of the grade is on grammar,” Sanchez said. “They also helped me on concepts like organization, which is another 10 points on the paper, which really helped because my paragraphs were said to be out of order. So that was a good 20 points right there.”

Last year I did not have their help; I spent hours and hours and hours making badges and delivering them. It was really, really challenging, so it saves me a lot of time.”

— Ruth Ann Widner

In addition to Peer Tutoring, NHS members also volunteer for the organization Helping Hands, where a group of students assist teachers in their everyday tasks. School Improvement Facilitator Ruth Ann Widner has taken advantage of this program multiple times, for help mostly with Bowie Badges for faculty members.

“Last year I did not have their help; I spent hours and hours and hours making badges and delivering them,” Widner said. “It was really, really challenging, so it saves me a lot of time. I have a professional degree and should be spending my time doing professional activities and not necessarily cutting and pasting.”

For the volunteers, there’s more to Helping Hands than the volunteer hours, according to senior Jack Fishbaugh.

“Helping Hands is important for teachers because teachers have a lot of work to do,” Fishbaugh said. “So they get students to lend a hand every once in a while with little tasks and it makes things more efficient. I really like the teachers at Bowie, so I want to help as much as I can with anything they need.”

This year, the Spanish Honor Society and the French Honor Society teamed up with Helping Hands members to create a Custodian Committee, which plans an event or gives the custodians small gifts once monthly.

We started a Custodian Committee so the teachers and students can give back to our custodial staff, because that’s something that we haven’t really done in the past.”

— Emily Leeke

“We started a Custodian Committee so the teachers and students can give back to our custodial staff, because that’s something that we haven’t really done in the past,” Leeke said. “That’s branching out from our Helping Hands and we do that with Spanish Honor Society.”

The committee’s purpose is to show the custodial staff that students appreciate all of their hard work, according to senior Carolina Govea, co-president of the Spanish Honor Society and NHS member.

“We started in October, so for Halloween we made goody bags with personalized notes and placed them in the workroom as a surprise for [the custodians],” Govea said. “Ms. Theis had stuff planned for November, so we didn’t do that month, and for December we’re planning on having our annual Chocolatada with a small breakfast and gift cards or small gifts for them. I know the students really like giving back to them since not many organizations on campus do that.”

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NHS community service programs provide for peers