Mount Olive Middle School Foursome Starts Volunteer Tutoring Program

By Steve Sears

If you’re a pupil in 1st through 5th grade in a Mount Olive elementary school, and the subject of math is a thorn in your side, extra help has arrived.

Amblin Cabsaba, Riley and Robbie Cahili, and Thomaz Honda have formed “A.R.R.T of Tutoring.” 

“Our name came from us combining the initials of each of our names together to make ‘A.R.R.T.’ (Amblin, Robbie, Riley, Thomaz),” says Honda.  “Our logo was designed by Riley and Robbie Cahili, since they’re both very talented artists.”

A.R.R.T provides 30-minute one-on-one virtual tutoring sessions held after school, Monday through Friday, throughout the school year. Sessions currently focus on helping the student with any math topics they are learning in school. 

The A.A.R.T. tutoring program is free, but the group does suggest if you wish to say thanks, doing so by contributing to the Mount Olive Food Pantry. “We also chose to ask for food pantry donations because so many people with service-based jobs lost all income overnight,” says Honda. “Food is an essential resource and is a sense of pride, to be able to provide food. Food is also a source of hope, that gives families the knowledge that no matter how bad things get, there’ll always be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The program started in November, but planning began in August. “We started our project in August, worked on creating the bookings and website through September, began “dry runs” with family members, and finally launched in November,” says Honda. The group’s efforts supplement the fine work educators and parents are doing. Honda says, “We first got the idea for the project when we saw that some kids – despite their teachers and parents’ best efforts – sometimes they have a need for extra help with their homework and classwork.”

“So far there’s been three,” says Cabsaba, when asked how many youngsters have approached A.R.R.T. for help. 

Honda adds, “When we enter high school next year, we plan to stick only to math, although we plan to bring the bar up on who we’ll be teaching, expanding to middle school math.”

“Interaction,” says Cabsaba, is the biggest challenge for the A.R.R.T. team. “In class, teachers can come over to a student’s desk and go over what went wrong. Online and virtual learning, you have to show them through a screen, which can be a bit more difficult.”

This challenge is not limited to just the tutoring. Robbie Cahili explains. “Something that I think was a difficulty in doing the project was what Amblin said: we can’t actually go to the person we’re tutoring and tell them exactly what they did wrong. Sometimes we can’t really get together to discuss their correction and how to teach them the right way – unless they provide us the same input that everyone’s writing down. So, we have to collaborate with each other.” 

Honda adds, “None of this would have been possible without the support of our parents (Ahmor Cabsaba, Elaine Cahili, and Mayumi Honda). They were always there to give us a little boost of energy whenever we weren’t feeling up to the task or giving suggestions on marketing and teaching techniques.”

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