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Kaville Hazlewood, centre, and other members of Excel Academics.
Kaville Hazlewood, centre, and other members of Excel Academics.

A 1-year-old private academic tutoring service that has been approached by many parents who could not afford the tuition has launched “The Homework Help Centre” in an attempt to assist disadvantaged students across the country.

The centres are expected to begin operating in January, at the start of the school term.

“Homework centres will be set up in various resource centres across St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where students can attend, after school, and receive the guidance and help they need with their homework from our pool of volunteers,” Kaville Hazelwood, 23, founder of Excel Academics said.

In 2021, the Barrouallie resident, who holds an undergraduate degree in statistics and economics, founded Excel Academics, a tutoring business that initially catered for students preparing for secondary school exit examination, but has expanded to those leaving primary school.

 “Over the past academic year, many parents reached out to me for tutoring classes for their children but were unable to afford the services. I adjusted the prices and provided a few scholarships to accommodate as many low-income families as possible, but I did not think it was not enough.

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“From this experience, I felt the calling to do more to assist children from destitute families whose parents/guardians are unable to finance the additional support needed for their academic success.”

Hazelwood said he strongly believes that every child, rich or poor, deserves support from people who believe in them and can help them “to envision a beautiful world filled with opportunities and possibilities”.

He said “The Homework Help Centre” programme for children from low-income families aims to create more learning opportunities for children from less-fortunate households.

“Most importantly, creating a safe space for these children to be able to successfully complete their homework and assignments with access to the right resources,” Hazelwood said.

He said that while primary and secondary level education is freely available to all Vincentians, “not every child returns home from school to an environment conducive for learning. Not every household has Wi-Fi and technological resources and not every parent is able to assist with homework.”

The plan is to use the government’s learning resource centres across the country “to create that conducive learning environment and provide teaching assistance in an attempt to alleviate this problem and level the playing field…

“While resource centres are available and easily accessible, a child is not naturally motivated to make effective use of them, and so they need our guidance.”

He said the volunteers will include teachers and members of the society who are willing and capable to assist.

“My committee and I will be reaching out to the churches, schools, government and all of our other social institutions to request the collaboration that will be needed to make this project a success. I strongly believe that with all hands on deck, this programme will be successful.”

Kelly Ann Myers
Retired educator and former principal of Thomas Saunders Secondary School, John Renton, right, presents the Excel Academics scholarship to Kelly-Ann Myers.

Meanwhile, the Excel Academics business was officially launched on Aug. 19, after a full year of operation.

Two form 5 students of Thomas Saunders Secondary School, Hazelwood’s alma mater each received the “John Renton Scholarship” in honour of the former principal of the school.

Philip Lowman, as well as Kelly-Ann Myers, who is from Chateaubelair, the Volcano Red Zone, and was significantly affected by the eruptions, will each receive EC$$800 worth of classes from Excel Academics in preparation for the May/June 2023 CSEC examinations.

Renton said he was very pleased to be honoured by his past student.

The retired educator spoke about how tutoring contributed to his success in his academic journey and expressed gratitude to be able to be a part of providing that opportunity for others.

He said that children learn and receive information in many different ways, some of which the public schooling system does not cater to.

After-school tutoring proves to be effective in bridging this gap, Renton said.  

He also announced his interest in being a part of The Homework Help Centre initiative, as a seasoned and experienced educator.

“Going forward, Excel Academics pledges to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to do as much as possible to ensure that low income families are not left out but are firstly considered in youth academic development projects,” Hazelwood said.