In 2008, Bison Academy had its first meeting. It served as a Saturday school for students struggling in any of their core classes. Now, 11 years later, BG is welcoming an addition to Bison Academy: ACT/SAT prep.
Known as “ClaSmATes ACTing for Others,” this addition was founded by senior Nathan Cole after he noticed a lack of free test prep in the area.
“When I took the ACT, it took me such a long time to get down a test strategy, even with test prep,” Cole said. “And [test prep] isn’t even accessible to all students. I feel it’s an opportunity that everyone deserves.”
Cole visited the College and Career Center after coming up with the idea. He was sent to counselor Brian Linhart, who brought the idea through the approval process, receiving an enthusiastic response from the administration. Linhart eventually became the staff adviser for the project.
“It’s really cool that he’s the one who shoulder-tapped me,” Linhart said. “It’s selfless service. I think our school is really big on that, and this is just a great example of the type of school we have.”
After the idea was approved, Cole began preparing for the first session. He gathered a group of his peers to volunteer as tutors. They then collaborated to form a packet containing testing strategies and general outlines of the tests.
“I found the session really helpful,” junior Marianne Mejia said. “I really liked the packet and I know a lot of other people did too.”
Almost 20 students attended the first session, where they reviewed using the packets and one-on-one and group tutoring for each section of the tests. This turnout was a huge feat, but not an unexpected one, Linhart said. Throughout his years in high school, Cole has made himself known for his acts of selflessness.
“[Cole] is awesome,” Linhart said. “He really puts the needs of other people before his own. I’ve seen it on the basketball court, I’ve heard about it from his band directors, I’ve heard about it from his teachers.”
Cole hopes that ClaSmATes ACTing for Others will be able to withstand the test of time. He would like students to reap the benefits of free standardized test prep even after his graduation.
“I’d love to get some juniors who think it’s a good idea who would be willing to continue it next year,” Cole said.
Cole and Linhart encourage students to get involved in ClaSmATes ACTing for Others. Seniors interested in volunteering as tutors can contact Linhart via email. Information regarding drop-in session dates and times for juniors and seniors in need of tutoring will be available on the morning announcements and posters throughout the school.
“If you’re thinking about going to one of the prep sessions, you definitely should,” Mejia said. “It’s only a couple of hours, and all of the tutors are really nice and helpful. You can only benefit from going.”