Student athletes make a difference as tutors

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Team Tutors 204 is a program where honor students from local schools like Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley, Metea Valley, and Benet Academy volunteer to tutor children ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade in all school subjects. The program offers free drop-in tutoring sessions on Sundays from 3 to 4:30 p.m at the Naperville Public Library on 95th Street. It gives the high school students the chance to give back to the community and gain leadership skills as tutors. Two former District 204 student athletes created the organization over five years ago: Lauren Lee, a former Waubonsie Valley swimmer, and Nidhi Chetan who swam at Neuqua Valley and is now a Division I swimmer at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Sibling connections at Team Tutors 204

“My sister [Lauren Lee] actually started it in 2017 with a few of her friends. She has graduated high school and is in college now. The parents of each of the students got involved as well and they helped just come together and create this organization,” said Ryan Lee, swimmer for Waubonsie Valley boys swimming.

Ryan Lee is the current president of Team Tutors 204 and he swims for Waubonsie just like his sister before him. A charitable spirit and a knack for leadership is prevalent throughout the Naperville athletic community. So it’s no surprise there are several student athletes working as tutors for the program. Freshman Lucia Caruso is a gymnast for the District 204 Co-Op and is also a diver at Waubonsie. Nidhi’s sister and fellow Neuqua swimmer, Ruhee Chetan is a committee chairwoman for the group. Peter Carroll, brother of former Wildcat swimmer and tutor Elaine Carroll, also swims for the blue and gold. Many of the current generation of tutors became familiar with the program through their siblings, and were oftentimes students looking for extra help themselves.

“When she [Nidhi Chetan] started it, a couple months later, I started to attend and I would get tutored by her friends. I got really close with a lot of her friends and I felt like it was much easier to learn in an environment where there’s people who have gone through the stuff that you did. And then from there I just kept coming,” said Ruhee Chetan, swimmer for Neuqua Valley girls swimming.

“My sister was a board member of Team Tutors 204 when I was younger. She expressed that she had some really good experiences with it to me and that really taught her a lot. So she recommended it to me and I started it from there. I haven’t regretted it,” said Peter Carroll, swimmer for Neuqua Valley boys swimming.

Experiences with tutoring children

Since becoming tutors, the student athletes have really enjoyed their experiences working with children looking for help with school.

“Some of the kids are really fun to work with. So, a lot of the time they’re doing like kindergarten or first grade stuff so it’s kind of easy, but it’s fun,” said Lucia Caruso, freshman for District 204 Co-Op girls gymnastics.

“When you come into this program, the tutors kind of ask you, ‘What are you comfortable in tutoring with’ or ‘What do you enjoy the most?’ I got more comfortable with the people and from there on out it’s just been pretty fun,” said Chetan.

An increase in tutors and students

Since the program began in 2017, Lee has been impressed with how much progress Team Tutors 204 has made in growing the number of both tutors and students.

“When I first started as a tutor, we were having trouble recruiting new tutors, and students as a matter of fact, and now we’re seeing new students and tutors basically each week that we come into the library. So, I think the efforts that we’ve done to put the word of our program out to the rest of the community has really made an impact on our program as a whole,” said Lee.

Lee is graduating in the spring, which means he will be leaving the program in the hands of the next generation as will Chetan after she finishes high school next year. But thanks to the hard work of these local students and athletes, Team Tutors 204 is poised to continue helping kids in the community succeed in the classroom for years to come.