Doug Dumont is the coordinator for the Aspirations Program at Lewiston High School. Dozens of Bates College students volunteer to help LHS students through a remote tutoring program. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — As high school students struggled with remote instruction this year, a partnership with Bates College gave them opportunities to get the help they needed.

Nearly 60 Bates students have volunteered to tutor Lewiston High School students since the fall.

The tutoring was organized by the high school’s Aspirations Program, which this week was named the 2021 Community Partner of the Year by the Maine Campus Compact.

The compact, housed on the University of Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, is a statewide coalition of 17 college campuses — including Bates — whose purpose is to “reinvigorate the civic mission of higher education.”

The Community Partner of the Year Award recognizes “distinguished contributions and dedication to strengthening campuses and communities in Maine,” Maine Campus Compact Executive Director Sally Slovenski said in an email interview.

Award recipients are credited with enhancing campus-based efforts to address vital community issues, she said.

The Lewiston High School Aspirations program was nominated for the award by the Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships.

“We nominated the program for this statewide recognition because it not only has a sustained track record of dedicated work with students but has also been a real bright spot during the COVID pandemic,” Harward Director Darby Ray said.

“As educators were struggling with how best to support students during a time when their lives and learning routines were profoundly affected by the pandemic, the LHS Aspirations director, Doug Dumont, jumped into action,” Ray said.

Dumont established a remote tutoring program that offers assistance to LHS students Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Qi Schmidt, left, and Mia Brumsted are first-year students at Bates College in Lewiston. They volunteer to tutor Lewiston High School students remotely through the LHS Aspirations Program. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“The partnership we have with Bates is getting stronger every year,” Dumont said in a phone interview. “It is important to recognize that they made this partnership possible.”

More tutors than ever have volunteered this year, he said. “The willingness of Bates students to support LHS students is amazing.”

Though in the past Bates students were invited into the Aspirations Lab at the high school, the program has been fully remote this year.

That has worked well, Dumont said.

“Bates students have been able to log on from their dorm rooms,” he said. “They’ve logged in even when their roommates were sleeping, whispering in the dark so they could continue to provide support and service.”

Senior Jillian Serrano is one of dozens of Bates College students who provide tutoring lessons to Lewiston High School students remotely. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Some continued to tutor from their homes all through break times, he said. “It’s just been great.”

Dumont attributed the level of support in part to the lack of activities on campus. More students are looking for something to do.

“The typical Bates student is eager to participate in the wider community in constructive ways — that is, to be a full member of the Lewiston-Auburn community,” Ray said.

Most tutors are available for two hours at a time, Dumont said. High school students can log on to the videoconferencing platform Zoom and find a tutor waiting to help.

“The session could be very short or something a little bit more involved where students need to read something and answer questions or they need help with math,” Dumont said.

The program has been “very critical this year, more than any other,” he said. “We realized that students were going to need support and the best way to provide support was to have additional tutors.”

Most LHS students attend school in person two days a week and work remotely three days. Others are getting fully remote instruction.

The high school also offers remote tutoring from teachers and education technicians, who have their own online platform, Dumont said.

He has directed the Aspirations Program since 2014 and has partnered with Bates since 2015, he said.

He said the tutoring site has seen 741 visits this year, though many have been repeat visitors. Lewiston High School has about 1,500 students.

Other Maine Campus Compact awards presented virtually April 28

The Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence:
• Margaret Boyle, Bowdoin College
• Jesse Minor, University of Maine at Farmington
• Pamela Morgan, University of New England

Heart and Soul Student Award:
• Emma Block, Bates College
• Lutie Brown, Colby College
• Dominique DiSpirito, University of Maine
• Ines Ngoga, University of Maine at Presque Isle
• Bailey West, University of Maine
• Sydney Wolf, University of New England

Community Health Hero Student Award
• Caitlyn Demers, Saint Joseph’s College
• Ronan Goulden, Bates College
• Kaleigh Walsh, Saint Joseph’s College

PILLARS Student Award
• James Kim, Colby College
• Georgia Moses, Bates College
• Alexis Raymond, University of Southern Maine
• Grant Stewart, Saint Joseph’s College
• Elizabeth Sweeney, Bowdoin College
• Elizabeth Trudel, University of Southern Maine
• Samantha Wood, University of Maine at Farmington
• Will Wood, University of New England


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