Tiger Tutors help younger students build success

 Tiger Tutor Kennedy Woolery works with Skyline Elementary student Wyatt Pierce

Tiger Tutor Kennedy Woolery works with Skyline Elementary student Wyatt Pierce.

When Skyline Elementary Mixed Age teacher Tonya Edgar was asked to have Emily Eschbacher and Kennedy Woolery in her classroom as Tiger Tutors, she was honored and knew they would do a great job. 

“I was very fortunate to teach both of these girls during their third grade year,” Edgar said. Nine years later, Eschbacher and Woolery were back in the elementary classroom to help Edgar’s students build success. Both are members of S-C’s Class of 2024, and discussed their experience before graduating May 11.

Tiger Tutors are students from Smith-Cotton High School fulfilling their mentoring requirement for Missouri’s A+ Scholarship Program. Tutors are assigned to classrooms within the district to help students navigate their learning and development. 

“Every day is a new day in Mrs. Edgar’s classroom. I never know what I will be asked to do, which is what I love,” Eschbacher said. “We have developed a connection that will live with me forever.” 

As Eschbacher was greeting students one morning, the latest Taylor Swift song was the topic of conversation. 

“Mrs. Edgar has a very kind and welcoming group of students who never fail to brighten up my day,” Eschbacher said. “I love having regular, everyday conversations with them. This far into the year, they have become my new, tiny best friends!”

Escbacher said her Tiger Tutor experience helped her become more confident in her decision to become a teacher. 

Edgar expressed pride in Eschbacher, saying: “Since Emily wants to be a teacher, she helps me assign class jobs and new teams each month, works with students in the handwriting club, designs posters, has lead calendar, works one-on-one with students during math games, and helps students complete their monthly behavior challenges. Her extra help has been tremendous and is one of the main reasons I asked her to stay again for the second semester.”

Woolery would arrive in the afternoon during the students’ reading block. Edgar praised Woolery’s work running a small reading group in the hallway. The two would pick out a chapter book together and Woolery would lead a group in reading and discussing. She also helped students who were behind on assignments. 

Woolery loves to read as a young adult and shared that passion with students. 

Edgar said, “One of her favorites to read with them are mysteries because the students make predictions on ‘who did it.’ My students even have a routine when reading with her; they grab their snack and go out in the hallway and are ready before she even has a chance to get out there with the books. You should hear their excitement when it is their turn to read with her!”

Woolery’s favorite part about being a Tiger Tutor was forming relationships with the students. She enjoyed seeing them at S-C sporting events. 

“I love when they ask me questions about high school and what to expect because I was once where they are and would’ve loved to have someone to get advice from,” Woolery said.

Edgar and her students will miss their Tiger Tutors terribly. Eschbacher plans on attending Missouri State University to obtain a degree in Elementary Education. 

“I hope to return and teach in any elementary school in the Sedalia #200 district community,” she said.

Woolery plans to attend State Fair Community College where she will study in the dental hygiene program.