Spirited Student Initiative

By Alice Maggiore

May 17, 2012 Updated May 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM EST

Oxford, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Chenango County High School student got sick of seeing his peers struggle to keep their grades up and not be able to participate in athletics. So, Adam Pierson brainstormed and came up with the Peer Tutoring Program.

Adam Pierson was voted the most spirited student at Oxford Academy.

"He's one of the ideal students. He's always getting things done, asks good questions, typically engaged in the topic," says Chris Palmer, the Varsity Baseball Coach and High School Government Economics teacher. "He's somebody who takes an interest in what we're doing, and other people, and things of that nature. Hes' really one of our better kids here at Oxford.

Palmer says Adam brings a positive energy to the group. He channels that enthusiasm to help peers ace academics and athletics.

"In the beginning of the year in football, we had a low amount of people to start with. We had about 15 or 16 [players]," says Adam. "We ended up having 3 of our seniors failing during our homecoming game, and they couldn't play in that. We didn't have them, and that cost us big time in that game."

Similar stories from other students frustrated Adam, and sent his mind running. That's how the Peer Tutoring Program was born.

"I talked to my guidance counselor, we came up with this program, and we put it together," Adam says.

"I pretty much just gave him a list of students that need the extra help and he went out and he recruited other students, his fellow students to be tutors," says Guidance Counselor Kristopher Kaschak. "I helped him kind of manage it all, organize it all... but he took the ball and ran with it himself."

The program was a big success.

"Our ineligible numbers have dropped. I know there's kids in the media center working after school, I know he's partnered people up and I think the biggest thing is you see the students who are taking advantage, their grades have improved," Palmer explains.
"That's a big thing."

Immeasurable hours to help fellow students make the grade, and set the standard for success.

"...If I multiply how many kids he had in the program, times how much they work, the hours, you know, I can't even imagine," says Kaschak. "There were, it has to be over 100 hours, probably over a 100 hours of tutoring time at least."

"Almost every teacher in the school said something to me, like shook my hand, said thank you for doing this, we really need this," says Adam.

Adam is one of 30 recipients of the Student Community Service Award presented by State Senator Tom Libous, BOCES and WBNG-TV.

He will use the $1,000 scholarship to go toward Mohawk Valley Community College next year.

He wants to be a physical education teacher.

Kascheck says Oxford will expand on Adam's program next year. It hopes for earlier intervention so students don't fail.

To learn more about all of the student winners, visit State Senator Tom Libous' website.