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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

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Oct 242012
Julia Schemmer: Norco High School Share Your Passion Scholarship Winner

Julia Schemmer: Norco High School Share Your Passion Scholarship Winner

When asked her goals for the future, #100 Norco High School Share Your Passion scholarship winner, Julia Schemmer replied, “Change the world.” Passionate in the medical field, Julia not only aspires to be a missionary doctor but has also founded her own organization, The Face of Cancer.

The Face of Cancer is a Facebook project launched in September 2012. Its primary function is to give support to Corona-Norco cancer patients. “It’s easy to see the cancer ribbons, or to be asked to donate,” she says, “While these are equally important, there is a great malnourishment of actual support to these patients.” Their past two events have been a huge success. Julia hopes to expand the organization by setting up a Pen Pal system with a member of the Face of Cancer and a cancer patient.


“It’s amazing the things you can do for the community with your resources,” Julia says. “Sometimes the best world-change is just letting people know that you care. I hope this organization inspires others to make a difference as well.”

If you’d like to be involved with the Face of Cancer, “like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/

Aug 272012

Julia Schemmer – Winner of $100 Norco High School Share Your Passion Scholarship

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The alarm clock rings at an unrighteous hour, signaling an end to the wonderful summer. Commercials play tirelessly, convincing you to buy their low school supply deals. As you enter this school year, it can be intimating to you. Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, back to school nerves can arise. But have no fear! The How to Survive High School guide will guide you through all insecurities, fears, worries, and more!

Let me introduce myself first: my name is Julia Schemmer. I am a sophomore at Norco High School, and I have very high aspirations. My freshman year of high school I was blessed to win four scholarships and acceptance into the University of Southern California’s summer residential program. Recently, one of my classic Shakespearean sonnets that I wrote has been selected to be in a book titled Talented. I aspire to be a missionary doctor, helping less fortunate people with their basic medical needs in poverty-stricken areas.

Success is relative, and other people’s views of success differ. However, my school has three elements needed to be successful: Resourceful, Responsible, and Ready to Achieve. In this guide, we will further discuss these and how to attain them for your maximum enjoyment of high school and the world beyond.

The first element of the “key to success” is being resourceful. The reason why I achieved a lot of scholarships was because of the Career Center at my high school. High schools and libraries offer a lot of helpful resources that if used, could bring you a lot of success. If you’re falling behind in classes, an important resource is tutoring. Do everything that you can to improve your grades, and you’ll see yourself understanding and enjoying the material more and more. By using your local resources, success will come.

The second element of the “key to success” is being responsible. This includes doing your homework on time, studying for tests and quizzes, and adhering to the school rules. Doing homework on time projects a good image to your teacher and administration. You want to look the best you can for teachers because they are the ones who will recommend you for different scholarships and activities. Studying for tests and quizzes are essential to getting a good grade in the course. It doesn’t have to be a two hour session of studying. Setting aside twenty minutes a day can make a huge difference in your grade. When I was struggling with Geometry last year, studying made a big difference and I ended up with a C+ in the class. Adhering to the school rules is a huge responsibility. No matter how tedious they might seem school rules are established for a reason: to give you the best learning experience for you and the teacher. Even if it’s not chewing gum, following the dress code or showing up to class on time; they make you a better student. If you break the rules at a college or university, they throw you out.  If you are seriously college bound, it would be wise to focus on obeying the rules now, so you are prepared for college and ready to succeed.

The last element of the “key to success” is being ready to achieve. Even though it seems straight forward, it is very important to success. You don’t go as the lead of a musical ready to give only 25%. You wouldn’t go into a football game saying “Let’s beat them! But if not, lose with style.” No, you enter these situations with a wholehearted passionate decision to give it all. You use the best of your efforts to bring forward success and to make yourself proud. Same with school success. In being studious, it is essential that you give your all. It will take dedication to study for that Physics test instead of chatting on Facebook. It will take discipline to go to tutoring sessions and get that help. But I promise you it is worth it. Nothing worth having will be easy; and nothing easy will be worth having. Giving your all as a student will give you success. Stay focused, stay yourself, and stay studious.

Aug 082012

David Dillon - Winner of $100 Facebook Scholarship Contest and the $250 Share Your Passion Scholarship

Education, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction.” With that definition, one can see that there exist two roles in the education system: receivers and distributors. It is the responsibility of teachers to distribute information to their students, the receivers, in as lucid a manner as possible; however, as receivers, it is the students’ responsibility to be receptive of what the teachers distribute. In an academic environment, cooperation is required between both parties for complete success to be achieved.

Based upon statistics and common knowledge, there are students who enjoy learning and students who need some sort of incentive to delve into the learning process. Due to this fact, it is up to the teachers to create an inviting educational environment, a place where the retention of knowledge and abstract thinking is encouraged. Alongside that, teachers must be open to the different manners in which students learn, so that every student has a fair opportunity to comprehend the teacher’s instruction. Once an encouraging environment has been established, the student has the responsibility to be receptive of the teacher’s material. If the open environment still is not sufficient encouragement for the student, then that student must become self-motivated. In my case, when I feel that the style in which the teacher delivers information is not compatible with my way of learning, I have to do what I can in order to understand the material. If that means independently studying at home, asking questions, or seeking tutoring, then I have to take that upon myself and do so.

When I find myself uninterested in a specific topic, I do my best to apply it to something that I am interested in so that I can not only stay focused, but actually understand the material. For instance, I initially did not understand the purpose of physics and analyzing free-fall acceleration until I applied it to breakdancing. I realized that an upward force has to be greater than the natural downward force of gravity in order to remain in the air for a given amount of time, causing me to look again into how I executed certain movements. The application of uninteresting information to interesting information amplifies one’s understanding of the interesting information, inherently making both more comprehensible.

One way to conquer an array of learning styles is through flexibility. Each participant in the education system has to be willing to accept a method that may be foreign to them, including the parents. The parents play an interesting role because they are not in the classroom with their students; they do not see the everyday classroom procedures. The parent/guardian’s responsibility, even outside of the realm of education, is simply to encourage the student. When the student is struggling with a specific topic, the parent should be there to let the child know that they are able to accomplish any task as long as they work for it. Dually, it is the parent’s responsibility to discipline the student in a way that the teacher cannot. The parent is there when the teacher cannot be, and knows the student better than anyone else; therefore, the parent must be sure that the student is staying on task and completing his or her work at home so that they can get the most out of their education.

Ultimately, practice makes perfect. Motivation is the key to success in the education system, whether it comes from the teachers, the parents, or the students themselves. With motivation and diligence, anything can be accomplished, even getting accepted to one’s dream college.

Jun 192012

Message from The Tutoring Solution: Every so often we are presented with stories of hardship and hope; stories that are so inspiring that we feel the need to share them with others – this is one of those stories.  Thank you Heather for sharing your story with our readers.


People say “it takes a village” to raise a child. I had no idea that in the months following the birth of my daughter, Lily, I would come to understand this phrase in a new way. She was born August 4th, 2005. When learning to juggle both my work and role as a mother, I relied on my parents, husband, and friends for support. All was well for a short time.

A few months later, I noticed symptoms of extreme fatigue and breathlessness. As a new mom, I knew some fatigue was normal, but I decided to check with my doctor. The news was shocking. I was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer in the lining of the lung, caused primarily by asbestos exposure. My thoughts instantly went to Lily. The doctor gave me a prognosis of fifteen months and I couldn’t imagine my husband and Lily alone in the world without me. I knew I must do whatever it took to stay alive.

We made the decision to undergo treatment with an excellent doctor in the field of mesothelioma. This required us to fly to Boston and leave Lily with my parents. On February 2nd, I had a surgery called extrapleural pneumenectomy, which removed my left lung. I spent 18 days recovering in the hospital and then proceeded to undergo chemotherapy and radiation.

The people, who supported us during the birth of Lily, became a crucial part of Lily’s care. My parents went from grandparents to primary caregivers. Old friends from the past stepped up to babysit Lily and help my parents out. The number of people who came out of the woodwork to support us was overwhelming. Others, who we imagined would help, fled in the face of such a grave illness.

The prayer, love, and support were the driving force behind our success. We managed to find a community of people in Boston who helped us as well. This is how we managed day to day- with a village behind Lily and us.

Heather & Lily Von St. James

Heather & Lily Von St. James

As I continued to fight the cancer, Lily was in South Dakota, growing quickly. She learned to eat solid food, scoot along the floor, and roll around. The grainy black and white photos sent from my mom were the only connection I had to her. The pictures brought tears to my eyes and I fought them back as I reminded myself why I was fighting so hard to live. I knew she was in good hands with my parents.

We are grateful for the village of people who have surrounded us in our darkest hour. Cancer is a grim diagnosis, but out of it has come a lot of good.

Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

Sep 072011

All too often my conversations with parents of the students I tutor start with what’s wrong, but maybe that attitude is precisely the problem. Our society’s preoccupation with standards and proof of competency can lead us to forget the true purpose of education, namely to educate. An education is not the grades on a report card, an education ought to be the cultivation of each students’ full potentials: unleashing a student’s interest and ability to critically think and engage in the content matter, the opportunity to develop and practice crucial social skills and creating the opportunity to become life-long learners. Sometimes grades reflect the acquisition of these skills, but frequently they simply reflect a student’s memorization and test taking skills—which matter, but are not the whole story.

Tutor: Manihi Kontnik

As a student and life-long learner, I believe that helping students make education intrinsically rewarding is the greatest gift a tutor, teacher, parent or mentor can give. When I first meet a student, my interest is in what’s right! What do you enjoy about school? What classes peak your interest? Through encouraging what’s right, we can build the skills to tackle the problem areas. If a student loves language arts, but is struggling with algebra, we can simply turn boring equations into fun, interesting, relevant story problems. If social issues are affecting a student’s ability to learn, sometimes lending a concerned ear and sharing some wisdom can be more effective at turning that chemistry grade around then three extra hours of homework. Inspiration often arises from the least expected places. When I was having difficulty studying for a neuroscience class, painting a picture of an action potential ended up being the most effective study method. Sometimes we need to throw out the note cards and textbooks and engage students in their hobbies and interests. If students want to learn, nothing can stop us!

Perhaps the next time report cards are sent home, before you even look at the grades, your conversation can start with what skills and classes do you want an A in? What skills and classes do you deserve an A in? Then open it up with an open mind!



I am Manihi Kontnik and I love learning! I am a student at Claremont Graduate University. I am studying development positive psychology, which is the psychology of what is right with people. Positive psychology aims to identify and facilitate positive experiences, positive personality characteristics and positive institutions. My studies permeate my philosophy on education and my tutoring style. I believe a good education is the ticket the success and happiness, and the first step to receiving a quality education is desiring one. My goal as a tutor is to help make learning intrinsically rewarding.


Aug 302011

Take an instance when you are doing something on your laptop. You receive a phone call. You attend to the phone call. Around this time you receive a Facebook message, and look it up on your mobile phone. You do all this while still working on the laptop.

Were you distracted? Do you think that the same thing applies to your child as well? Are you sure that your child is getting distracted while studying?

Parents want their children to get rid of these distractions when studying. But a recent report has revealed another fact. More than half of school going children never fully immersed themselves in study over a prolonged period of time.

Some students seemed to cope with this. But others didn’t succeed. So, if you as a parent are wondering why your child is not doing well at school, you would need to look at the distractions. Is your child getting distracted while studying? What are the distractions? But do people really fail on efficiency in one activity when doing other simultaneous things?


UCLA Research

UCLA conducted research on the effects of multitasking on human beings. Using magnetic resonance imaging, brain activity was charted. The finding revealed that the brain learned even when it was being asked to multitask. Different people had different ways of learning.

Women excelled at effective multitasking while men liked to do one thing at a time. Another startling revelation of the research was that while we think we are doing many things at a time, we actually aren’t. The multitasking is actually shifting focus and attention from one task to another.

Some examples of multi-tasking the brain

Talking on the mobile while driving

This is something you see quite frequently. Although doing this is finable, people still do it all the time. Many accidents have taken place due to people losing attention while talking on mobile phones and driving. Why does this happen? It happens because the brain does not process two-events at one single time. It only shifts the attention. In case of accidents, drivers may not have had enough time to focus their brains on driving.


Many kids listen to music while studying. Research has indicated that music is a distraction-filler. In other words, to avoid hearing random noises and getting disturbed, kids choose a musical sound. In time, their brains get accustomed to it.


Parents can participate in the homework completion process as far as possible. Another effective way would be to ask your child to stand up, walk around, do certain simple chores and even answer your questions.

Parents need to understand that multitasking is only for tasks that need less brain-work. Even if the need for multitasking arises, choosing one brain-working task and choosing one mindless task works well.


About the author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger whose keen interest in the medical and technological field always keeps her on a lookout for latest news and happenings. Being a family girl, she also loves blogging on parenting site as well with topics generally focusing on family and children.

Apr 282011

Beau Hodson From www.Integrious.com

A topic that I feel deserves some attention is that of integrity as it applies to the “education seeker.” So here I want to share some thoughts on what my view of “an integrious student” would be.

My educational background includes a bachelor’s degree, and a passion for self administered education that is constantly on-going. However, when I look back at my time in high school and college, I remember myself as a student that for the most part showed up, and got decent grades because that’s what was required of me. I know I was only going through the motions, because all I cared about was basketball, even though I wasn’t all that great. And although I did play small college basketball, I should have valued my education more. It is also no coincidence that at the time and age, I had no idea what integrity meant, both in regards to my values and how I live my life. If I were to enroll in any educational program again I would approach it very differently and as such I believe I would both learn a great deal and enjoy it more.

So here is what I would do if I could go back, or a code of values and principles if you will, and I think some of this can apply to every student:

1. I would value it more, and I would take an ownership and consider it “my education” as opposed to a general education that I was getting, just the same as anyone else.
2. I would be more open minded in certain subjects, especially the ones where I thought I knew something.
3. In the other subjects of which I knew nothing about, I would think for myself a lot more, I would ask more questions. I sat there and simply took much of the information in at face value, just assuming it was true and right. Not everything you hear from a teacher and read in a text book is true and some of it is very subjective, so it may not apply to you or your situation perfectly.
4. I would pursue more opportunities outside the classroom: new sports, clubs, organizations, community service, and certainly tutoring for the areas that I needed help or wanted to excel in.
5. I would participate more in class and group settings. I was always very shy and as such I wasn’t engaged and mentally present at all times, meaning I spent too much time day dreaming.

6. I would spend some time trying to get to know the teachers. This can serve many purposes, but two primarily. First, if I had some sort of rapport with the teacher I would more likely pay more attention to them. Secondly, I would be able to better ascertain their view point, and subjectivity if I knew a little about their background and personality type. Any teacher will inherently put their perspective and personality into the education and it is important to know where they are coming from.

So listen up kids, I know most of these ideas might not appeal to you yet, but trust me these principles will serve you very well. I run a website, called the Integrious Project, that works to empower people to live integriously, or live with integrity. One of our main objectives is to build a community and engage people to share their perspective as it relates to integrity. I invite you to join us at www.integrious.com!

Apr 052011

“The freedom of thought is a sacred right of every individual man, and diversity will continue to increase with the progress, refinement, and differentiation of the human intellect.”  – Felix Adler 

Yesterday I noticed that one of my Seniors was not involved in the non-fiction reading that I assigned. One of the reasons that I took notice of her was a pattern of frustration with reading that was developing for the last three weeks ago. She is a very bright and capable young learner who shuts down when given a non-fiction reading that requires any level of advanced reader organization strategies for comprehension.

Although I had already taught the students the “ODD” reading strategy, she was still not engaged in the process of reading. The “ODD” strategy is a composite of many other reading strategies that I have encountered over my fifteen- year-career. The students have to read and mark a minimum of five textual connections, three highlighted ‘bright spots,’ and one question.

Non-fiction literacy skills are the backbone of my Gold Seal Lessons. These lessons were designed with the Rigor/Relevance framework that is espoused by the Successful Practices Network. I quietly sat down with her, and we discussed her level of frustration. I could sense in her tone and body language that she was not just choosing to distance herself from reading but was being mentally blocked from comprehension by some unknown force.

It was then that I noticed the corner of her paper. She was drawing a very intricate pattern and design. Most of her papers had senseless doodles all over them. It was then that I had an idea to turn her into a reading illustrator. If her brain thinks in pictures, then it was time to let her turn her readings into “SenseFull” doodles that carry sequence and meaning. She attacked the article and began illustrating the main idea of each paragraph. My only rule was attaching a number for sequencing purposes.   

The type of differentiation explained in most professional development seminars appears to be so complex that it paralyzes the teacher from actual implementation. In the case of this hopeless Senior reader, it was just a matter of determining how her brain organizes the patterns of the world.

Please leave a comment on Small Acts of Differentiation within your own classroom.

Gregory M. McGough M.Ed. is a Secondary Language Arts Teacher and Successful Practices Network Blogger.  He moderates #SPNChat on Twitter every Tuesday night at 6 PM PST.

Mar 032011



i was a bundle
formed of chaos uncurled
animated charmed


The little ones being subject to winsome
/ unicorns n Pegasi trolls! dogs n ponies pterodactyls /
Get in trouble for coloring
Outside the lines
Years later they get called to think
/ regarding posters on the walls & the punch-out ballets
Screaming reptiles + unidentified majors /
Outside the box
Which contains A B C & D
Sometimes E the Magnanimous / sometimes T or F which cannot be verified for nuts
Only the suits n ties were running around hard shoes!
The yellow bus unkempt playground
Breaking down one piece

At a time going nowhere…

*Michael J. Rodriguez is a human being who wants to make a difference before he dies…