WESTPORT, Conn. – Wouldn’t it be nice to find a tutor or coach that not only can relate to the needs of your child through personal experience, but also lives in Westport? Thanks to the Staples High School graduates Greg Lewis and Gabe Schindler, it is possible.
These longtime friends, both 2011 Staples graduates, teamed up to create Pencil Warrior, a free online service that allows eligible Staples High School students to share their academic and athletic success with other students in the community as tutors and coaches.
“When I was tutored in high school, I found it very difficult to relate to their teachings because they didn’t know what was going on” in the class, said Schindler, a sophomore fine arts major at University of Michigan,.
"Here you're getting the advice from somebody who's probably already had the same teacher or has the current playbook for the team you one day want to play for," added Lewis, a sophomore economic major at Amherst College.
Pencil Warrior is open for all Westport students to use, from kindergarten through twelfth –grade. However, because Pencil Warrior is all about peer-to-peer encouragement, only current Staples students can sign-up to be a tutor, or pencil warrior, as Lewis and Schindler call them.
Here’s how the service works: Staples student’s who receive grades of ‘A-’ or higher are eligible to tutor. They must have received at least an ‘A-’ in any subject they wish to tutor. In order to coach, students must be on the junior varsity or varsity team of the sport they wish to coach. If a student meets the requirements, he or she can create a personal profile on Pencil Warrior.
Students and parents looking to hire a tutor/coach for their child can log on to Pencil Warrior and browse the database for the perfect match. The search can be sorted by class or teacher name. Students and parents can also review their tutor.
Because perspective tutors must verify their grades by providing a copy of their transcript, parents can trust the tutors are actual Staples High School students, Lewis said. Parents and students who sign up to hire a tutor, he added, are also verified to ensure they are Westport residents.
“We’re keeping it local because it’s not just about sharing your success with others, it’s about building a community again,” said Lewis. “It’s about taking the best role models and introducing them to younger kids, and encouraging social interaction and friendships.”
Lewis and Schindler are hosting a launch party Saturday at the Longshore Club Park marina from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring free food, entertainment and giveaways.