West Linn High School juniors Katie Vedder and Dennis Tang want to use their academic skills to help others. And they've decided to do this by starting their own tutoring business.
"We wanted to help people because we knew we had been succeeding in our classes throughout high school," Vedder said. "We wanted to put our skills (out there), what we have and what we know, and help other people succeed in their classes — give them tips and help them out."
Vedder-Tang Tutoring offers students individual, partner or group sessions across several classes with subjects in math, science, social studies and language. They also offer time management and organization tutoring. Individual sessions are $25 an hour, $15 per person for partner sessions and $5-$10 for group sessions — depending on the group size — which are meant for reviewing tests and quizzes for certain classes.
"I like teaching people and I like explaining ideas," Tang said, adding that he started tutoring his sophomore year for National Honors Society volunteer hours.
Vedder added that she was new to tutoring this year, but she always loved teaching and was interested in the idea that stemmed from a conversation the two had during summer.
"It was a small idea and then we just started expanding it," Vedder said. "It's definitely come a long way."
Both students are deeply involved with WLHS. They have taken several AP classes beginning their freshman year and have an ongoing pres-
ence in extracurricular activities.
Vedder plays on the tennis team and is involved with Model United Nations and the International Science and Engineering Fair. In her free time she plays guitar, reads and likes traveling.
Tang does debate on the national circuit and started the West Linn Poverty Initiative, which organizes efforts to alleviate poverty in the community.
For fun he plays basketball and goes into Portland.
"I'm a foodie," he says.
The two friends both realize students are able to put their names on a tutor list at the school but they wanted their tutoring business to expand to people outside of WLHS. While they normally will tutor at the school, they are open to accommodate tutoring younger kids in West Linn or even students in Wilsonville.
"We really wanted to do something different and big, create something, and make it almost business-like," Vedder said. "(We made) a website and everything."
The tutoring duo already have about eight people who want repeating weekly sessions with them and a few who want to review for a test or quiz. While they've been able to manage it well so far, they are looking to hire tutors to help them out.
"Tutoring sessions are pretty tiring to do so we're looking for more personnel to add to the team," Tang said.
Vedder added that they don't want to have to turn anyone away.
"Hopefully we will have enough tutors to manage it," Vedder said. "We'll really try to fit as many people into our schedule as possible, it might be crowded, but we will fit as many people as we possibly can."
Both students really enjoy meeting new students they otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to meet.
"Everyone goes to school no matter what else you do, so you have the gamers, the football players, they all at the end of the day go to school (and) try to get good grades," Tang said. "Through tutoring last year I talked to and met a diverse group of people."
In the future, possibly senior year, the duo hope to do SAT prep classes once a week or make videos reviewing certain chapters of the SAT book to put online — expanding their online platform is another goal.
"I would just say to people who have little ideas like this, I never thought a year ago that I could be starting a business," Vedder said. "I would just say if you have little ideas that you want to become something, it's definitely possible. It's been such a fun process."