During his first semester of seventh grade, one of our co-founders, Rohan Gupta, was struggling with his math class. He was an overachiever, but his grade was a B+ — not a good combination. He tried everything from a paid adult tutor to Khan Academy, but his math grade kept oscillating between a B and a B+. Yet, by the end of the semester, he found a solution and got his grade back up to an A. How did this happen?
Well, in October of his seventh-grade year, Rohan met a student named Victor who had moved from China. Victor was in Rohan’s English, History, and Math classes. He was having a hard time adjusting to the new English and history curriculum, so one day, after meeting with Victor’s mother and their English teacher, Rohan started helping Victor with English and History, subjects Rohan was doing well in. After about a month of helping Victor, Rohan asked Victor’s teachers how he was doing, and what they said forever changed Rohan’s view of how students can learn. Victor’s grades “had blossomed from Cs and Ds to As and Bs.” Rohan couldn’t even begin to tell express how happy he felt that he had helped Victor understand the content and adjust to the school. That wasn’t the coolest part though. Rohan’s grade in math was still oscillating between a B and a B+. Nothing had yet worked, but he had a small sliver of hope when he saw the results of what had happened when he helped Victor. Maybe Victor could help Rohan the same way Rohan helped him. It was worth a shot, so Rohan asked Victor if he could help him with Honors Algebra 1 – a subject Victor was excelling in. He agreed and because of him, Rohan achieved an A in Math both semesters of seventh grade.
The interesting thing is that neither Victor nor Rohan used any outside tutor, any paid service, or any teacher to help with teaching each other. It was just the two of them; they became each other’s teachers. With just one another to learn from, both excelled in what they previously struggled in.
This mutually beneficial learning experience sparked an idea in Rohan — the idea that every student has something valuable to teach and that we can all learn something new each time we teach someone. Based on this idea, Rohan created the Hart Peer Mentoring Program in the 8th grade at Hart Middle School. When he went to high school, he created the Amador Valley High School Peer Learning Program.
Now, to reach more students, the team above decided to create Peersdom to create a more intelligent, more cooperative, kinder, and stronger society through the power of learning with our peers!