By Paige Korner
For many Seaholm students, the term “Saturday School” often brings to mind the detention received by those who collect a significant amount of tardies or are guilty of using their phone in class. If one would think that, they’d be wrong — in the Birmingham community, another Saturday School exists at Berkshire that hopes to garner much more positive attention. Spanish teacher Rudy Erazo has taken on the role of the Saturday School’s coordinator and hopes to garner more attention for the education program.
“We’re trying to change the perception,” Erazo said. “There’s a difference between Saturday School and Saturday Detention.” Saturday School was initially started around six years ago and begins each September during the school year and aims to help kids improve their grades in a warm and hospitable environment.
Erazo described the program as feeling like a home. Here, students are free to come and go as they please, along with taking snack breaks. The atmosphere is also relaxed in order to make students feel more comfortable in their work with their tutors.
According to Erazo, Saturday School’s goal is not only to help bridge any gaps in a student’s academics but to also form meaningful bonds between attendees. The program also hopes to form an understanding between the program and teachers which would allow students to receive extensions on assignment deadlines if they complete it during Saturday School.
“It’s more of a community building thing than anything.” Principal Deanna Barash said. The program offers a form of help with schoolwork and also provides what Barash calls a mentor relationship, which many elementary school and middle school students find extremely valuable.
The younger students often look up to the older and more mature tutors, such as Seaholm NHS volunteers, and Erazo says that the children often enjoy learning from teenagers who can understand them on a similar level.
“Seaholm students are a big help with Saturday school.” senior Jackie Meier said.
Meier felt that the school also greatly benefited the community and that it was a fantastic way for students to get together. She noted that it helped the kids build good character and that the kids were able to connect well with the high school students, along with giving them somebody to look up to.
“I really enjoyed volunteering there because it was a great chance to work and help other students of all ages.” Seaholm junior Heather Lee said.
Erazo hopes to create a chain where seniors teach juniors, juniors teach sophomores, and continue onwards so that everybody can get the help they receive from experienced students.
“Also, as a tutor you can pick what subjects you want to help out with so if you do not know a subject or feel uncomfortable helping out, you do not have to.” Lee said.
By helping younger students with their work, Lee was able to revisit past subjects she struggled with and view them with a newer, fresher perspective. She urged other students to give it a try. Not only does she tote it as a fun way to get community service hours, but also as an inspiring experience that may entice people to return again.
“Seaholm students can find out if teaching is going to be a career for them.” Erazo said. “Just come and see.”