Conant senior’s non-profit organization provides free education
“As a student,” Abhay Paidipalli, ‘23, said, “I never really had any mentors to show me how to explore beyond the classroom, and my parents had no experience with the American education system. It took a lot of effort to figure out new things on my own.”
With this in mind, Paidipalli was inspired to create Elevated Learning, a student-run, registered non-profit organization in which high school mentors provide free educational enrichment classes and tutoring to younger students.
“I knew that there would be a plethora of children out there who would benefit from a mentoring organization such as this one, which offers students an opportunity to explore topics they wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” Paidipalli said.
During the initial stages of Elevated Learning, Paidipalli began teaching math to five kids using a whiteboard during his Freshman year. He then recruited other mentors to grow the organization. The mentors are qualified high school students from D211 and other high school districts, who have specific experiences in the classes they are teaching. The mentors work together to create the curriculum and facilitate their different weekly classes.
“I am not a big fan of prewritten materials and curriculum, which is why I decided to adopt a more open-ended format in our organization,” Paidipalli said. “This way, mentors are free to teach what they’re most comfortable with and can morph their curriculum based on the response of the students. In general, we try to create a rough outline of topics we want to cover prior to a session, but exploration is what truly dictates the structure of our program.”
Soham Gupta, ‘23, a mentor for the Mobile App Development class, values the experience of guiding younger students in a subject that he is passionate about. “A highlight of being involved in Elevated Learning has been being able to share my love of computer science with the younger generation,” Gupta said.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization began to offer virtual classes, allowing the organization to expand their reach further, even globally. So far, Elevated Learning has reached four countries, served more than 60 students, and has provided over 200 hours of mentoring.
This fall, Elevated Learning will offer five in-person and virtual classes: Competition Math, Mobile App Development, Public Speaking, and SAT Prep. SAT Prep is a new program that they will be launching at the Schaumburg Library and is open to any high school students looking to improve their skills in taking the SAT.
Paidipalli said that collaborating with Chicago Public Schools is the next step for Elevated Learning. The organization is currently working with certain public schools in Chicago to bring computer science classes and enrichment to inner-city schools. They are looking to launch the project by the end of this year or the beginning of 2023.
Paidipalli hopes that Elevated Learning will continue to expand its reach in the future. “Our mission is to instill a passion to explore in all students,” Paidipalli said. “The ultimate goal is to bring free education to as many people and as many communities as possible.”