A day in the life: staff enjoy interactions with students

Mia Knezevic, Reporter

Adjacent to the library is the Academic Center, run by Pam Steward in the afternoons and Lisa Collart in the mornings. Steward has been atPalo Alto Unified School District for 15 years, beginning as an instructional aide at Juana Briones Elementary School. Since then, she has been at Gunn, transforming the Academic Center from a “social center,” where people played board and video games, to a center for peer tutoring and academic help.
Steward acknowledges that it can be difficult for students to seek helpat the Academic Center, an issue she actively works on addressing. “We’d like to reach students who don’t normally come in,” she said. “I wish that the stigma of tutoring would go away. Some people just feel ashamed about asking for help.”

Collart, who worked as a tutor before coming to Gunn, has been tutor- ing students in math during their prep since she started working in the center a year and a half ago. She provides help to students who are struggling in the subject, especially after they have missed class due to illnessor a conflicting sport. “The people who come in here asking for help want help and are motivated, so [my job] is very rewarding,” Collart said.

Collart hopes to help students in whatever way she can. “If I can make high school life a little bit less stressful, I’m really happy,” she said.

Together, Steward and Collart work together to make Gunn a less stressful environment. They both love interacting with students, and willcontinue to encourage them to sign up for tutoring or to tutor by reaching out to teachers and continuing to advertise the Academic Center. “You learn more from teaching than you do even by sitting there and trying to learn it,” Steward said. “When you have to articulate it, that’s when you really know the subject. I wish more students understood that by teaching you will learn more.”

For students interested in becoming a part of peer tutoring, fill out a written form in the Academic Center or sign up on Tutorbook, an online

app that matches students and tutors.