A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Giving Back: Henry Clay senior returns to Hayes Middle School as after-school tutor

By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward

When senior Hunter Frazier isn’t attending classes at Henry Clay High School, conducting research in a neuroscience lab at the University of Kentucky, or working part-time at Rafferty’s, he can be found mentoring students on Wednesday afternoons at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School.

“It’s whatever you need help with, whether it’s homework or what you’re working on in class. Sometimes it’s just a kid having another person to talk to,” said Hayes Principal David Hoskins, who commended Hunter’s efforts.

Four years ago at Hayes, Hunter served as an eighth-grade leader in the WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) program, which ensures sixth-graders feel comfortable and succeed in middle school. After moving on to Henry Clay, he didn’t forget the importance of giving back and the impact of such connections.

The tutoring club has gradually gained traction, and Hunter even made a video for the morning news at Hayes to promote the opportunity

Hunter’s younger sister had bragged on his tutoring skills, and he was also inspired by his grandfather’s similar initiative in Northern Kentucky back in the day. So last year, as a junior, Hunter approached the staff about launching an after-school homework help/tutoring group at Hayes.

“I don’t feel like I’m that much older (than the Hayes students),” Hunter said. “I want to make sure they’re not so scared or intimidated by what’s coming (in high school). I’ve always like to help, and explaining things is always the way to go.”

Turnout was low at first, but Hunter just kept coming back week after week, according to guidance counselor Shawn Reaves.

“We know him well enough – both his academics and character – so he just runs with it,” Reaves said. “Hunter exemplifies what we believe in our Panther Promise, and he embodies that to a T.” (Panther Promise: Learn Daily, Laugh Often, Lead Respectfully, and Live Responsibly)

The tutoring club has gradually gained traction, and Hunter even made a video for the morning news at Hayes to promote the opportunity.

“We changed up the name to ‘Panther Den,’ which seemed a lot more friendly for the kids,” he added.

“Mainly kids ask for help in math, and I’ve been working with these ideas for five or six years now,” Hunter noted. “There’s also a lot of kids who have me proofread their papers to add a more sophisticated tone to the writing and projects.”

At a recent session, sixth-graders Kendra Carroll and Ian Norvell stopped in for assistance. Ian needed some clarification on how to multiply fractions, while Kendra was working on possessives in her writing study guide.

“When I’m at home, it’s too loud and I can’t focus, and here it’s quiet and he’s helpful,” she said.

Hunter alternated effortlessly in the conference room near the front office, giving out study tips and encouragement along with slices of pizza from Donatos, where he worked previously.

His current boss at Rafferty’s also pitches in, so the youngsters have a snack each week as they tackle their assignments. When they grasp a concept or get the answer right, Hunter responds with a simple “Boom.”

“The neat thing is he’s training some kids at Henry Clay to take it over next year,” Hoskins said. “For Hunter, he just wanted to do something to give back. Now he’s trying to make it sustainable.”

Tammy L. Lane is website editor for Fayette County Public Schools

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