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SMHS Students Strive to Diminish Edge-ucational Gap

Photo courtesy Project Edge
Project Edge co-founders include Randy Cai (from left), Kevin Lan, Marcus Chua, Corey Sy, and Dowson Yang.

Doing their part in reducing a “gap” in educational needs that has arisen during COVID-19, several San Marino High School students recently started Project Edge — a cost-free tutoring service available to anyone with a computer and internet access.
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has only widened a discrepancy in education results between those who can easily keep up and those who cannot. Students now have to adapt to an online schooling environment that is not universally effective and, thus, are unable to receive a proper education at this time. Students everywhere have been turning to tutoring as a solution, although there are problems in that domain as well.
Marcus Chua, a co-founder of Project Edge, reports that their team finds it “disheartening that so many expensive tutoring companies have started up just now, especially by fellow high schoolers, to take advantage of and reinforce the educational gap. Realizing that young people had nowhere to receive academic help other than these for-profit tutoring agencies was what inspired us to take action and form our own movement to bridge this gap and make education more accessible to those who need it most.”
This “movement” would be known as Project Edge, a student-run nonprofit educational initiative that aims to make educational assistance available to all, completely free of charge.
Recruiting academically capable San Marino High School students as tutors, Project Edge offers tutoring sessions in a multitude of subjects including math, biology, chemistry and language arts (to name a few) and help students with their class assignments, homework, or pursuit of a new topic during quarantine. They operate online through Zoom.
Project Edge executives include San Marino High School students Kevin Lan, Marcus Chua, Lawrence Chao, Corey Sy, Dowson Yang, Randy Cai, Mark MacDermott, Srinivasan Arumugham, Megan Linden and Matthew Lee. Tutors include Amanda Lopez, Elaina Lee, Cassandra Liong, Marlene Ketelaar, Yuxiang Zhang, Sophia Yao, Jeremy Yoo, Jeffrey Deng, Tavis Chen, Ben Guo, Dennis Rui, Jacob Brassard, Philip Leung and Tavis Chen, in addition to the aforementioned executives.
Cai, a Project Edge co-founder, explains that “getting assistance from a high schooler who has already gone through the class is the most valuable part since he/she can pass along study skills that helped them and serve as mentors on top of reinforcing content.”
Although only having begun tutoring operations this year, Project Edge currently enlists more than 30 educators and has assisted K-12 students from Los Angeles to Indiana to Iraq in over 100 tutoring sessions during the month of February alone.
On top of online tutoring, the directors at Project Edge are taking part in creating supplemental programs for students who have difficulty engaging in an online learning format. They have recently teamed up with STEAM:Coders, a Pasadena-based nonprofit dedicated to inspiring “underrepresented and underserved students and their families through Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) in preparation for academic and career opportunities.”
“STEAM:Coders welcomes the collaboration with Project Edge,” said Raymond Ealy, the group’s founder and executive director. “We are excited about the partnership with Project Edge and look forward to supporting disadvantaged students with their studies. Math has become a major roadblock for students and we will assist those students who are struggling with the subject by providing them with free tutorial support. In conjunction with Project Edge, we can – and will — make a difference.”
Project Edge and STEAM:Coders are currently working to design and implement an effective supplemental math course curriculum utilizing the popular video game Minecraft to engage young students who have been struggling to learn during the pandemic.
Anyone in the community who is interested in joining Project Edge or supporting their efforts are encouraged to email the organization at edgelearningofficial@gmail.com.

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