Peddie student club is creating greater educational access in Asia
Olivia Dewar ’24
Shaurya Baruah ’24, Angad Singh ’24, Savir Singh ’24 and Ming Wang ’24 founded Academic Advancement Tutoring (AAT) in January 2021. “When COVID-19 first hit, all of us felt its impact,” said Shaurya. “But it wasn’t until I overheard my father on a phone call that the global pandemic and its effects came into perspective for me.”
A friend of Shaurya’s father had passed away from COVID-19, and he was the sole financial provider for his family. “That’s when I realized that although we were being affected by this pandemic, the problem was much bigger than us.”
Education took a backseat in many developing countries, such as India, where the pandemic struck disastrously. Shaurrya and his classmates wanted to do something to give children across the world equal access to quality education. Thus, Academic Advancement Tutoring (AAT) was born. AAT uses 100% of its profits from local tutoring services to support quality education for students in India, Korea and Taiwan.
AAT began its tutoring and fundraising efforts in January 2021. By July, they were recognized as an NGO (non-governmental organization) and received their 501(c)(3) tax exemption. And by October, they were ready to make their first donation — $1,500 worth of tablets — to Bright Futures, a school in India. Additionally, AAT donated more than $2,000 to students in India who could not afford education.
Academic Advancement Tutoring donated tablets worth over $3,500 to Bright Futures school in India.
According to Shaurya, making personal connections with the students is a top priority. “Not only are we covering their educational fees, but we are teaching them the importance of helping the community and giving back.” A notable story exemplifying the importance of these connections is AAT’s work with the Bora family in Teok Jorhat, India. Biki and Promod Bora lost their father, who was the family’s primary provider, in September 2021. AAT covered 100% of the Bora twins’ educational fees.
AAT’s influence does not stop there. When asked what they were most proud of accomplishing with this program, Savir said, “Not only helping students around the world, but inspiring the Peddie community as well. We have grown from just a four-person team to now having over 60 student volunteers who are eager to help others, which is remarkable.”
AAT was established as an official club at Peddie in April 2022, resulting in a huge growth of team members across all grades at Peddie. Along with the increase of team members came the addition of partnerships with other organizations. “Partnerships are useful because they allow us to combine forces with others that hold similar goals to make twice the impact,” said Ming. AAT has partnered with organizations such as Bright Futures in India, where Angad and Savir coordinate classes and facilitate the donation process, and the Peddie ESL club, where volunteers from AAT and ESL collaborate in teaching English to those who speak it as their second language.
AAT members help local community members learn English.
AAT has also begun collaborating with PeddieHacks, another student-run club at Peddie. “We took a lot of inspiration from Peddie Hacks’ logistical prowess, as many of our team members were also a part of Peddie Hacks,” explained Angad.
Like any budding organization, AAT holds future goals for improvement. “We have big goals, and we have small goals,” said Shaurya. “Some of our smaller goals include helping our volunteers get the recognition they deserve for their work, and strengthening the community within our team before we strive to help others.
“As for long-term goals, we have a checklist of things we want to achieve with this program: raising over $50,000 and helping over 500 students by the end of our junior year, expanding the courses available for tutoring, scaling to new locations outside of India and overall making a positive impact on those we help.”
AAT has already raised more than $20,000 and continues to grow rapidly. The organization’s leadership team recently received the esteemed President’s Gold Volunteer Service award for their contributions and work in community activism. As part of the award, the Peddie crew received a letter of thanks signed by President Joe Biden. Visit the Academic Advancement Tutoring website to learn more about the student-run organization, including their tutoring services.