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High school students establish innovative online education program for younger students

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Posted at 10:30 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 22:30:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Life is anything but normal for school kids across Virginia. Many have struggled to keep up with distance learning, but four Maggie Walker honors students are helping through Project EngageRVA.

They students are offering free online enrichment courses on Zoom to elementary students. Rising fourth grader Chi Le and rising second grader Cassady Creech say all the classes are a big hit.

“In quick math, our first meeting was really interesting. We played a game where we had a mission and we had to save a little girl by using clues and doing the math,” Le explained.

Cassady said the best part is learning and having fun at the same time. “It's really fun. You read some, you can do yoga and pick out your own moves. You can close your eyes and they'll read a story to you.”

The four Maggie Walker students who co-founded the Project EngageRVA program are gearing up for their June sessions. They are now expanding and adding more classes like computer coding and American sign language and have enlisted the help of other Maggie Walker students who will also serve as instructors.

“We are adding classes like dance, creative writing and environmental studies. These are things that they don't really study in school, so I’m sure it’s something the young ones will really enjoy,” Ria Bakshi said.

“We learned what works and what doesn't. What the kids like and what they don't. We learned to create content that's workable for different age groups,” explained Project EngageRVA co-founder Shreya Malani.

The program is getting several thumbs up from parents across the area who have enrolled their children.

Darcy Creech said the students teaching the elementary kids are really lifting a load from parents who are trying to juggle working from home and keeping their kids engaged and on task.

“They're amazing. They engage these kids and they’re so patient. I've been spreading the word as much as I can. I just can’t say enough positive things about this program. What amazing role models they are for the elementary kids,” Creech said.

The courses are free, but the founders are collecting donations to give back to the community. “It's amazing to say that we have ninety-five kids signed up and so far we raised more than $3000 for the Central VA Covid-19 Relief fund. So we are excited,” Justin Goldman said.

Their new goal is taking Project EngageRVA to the next level.

“We actually set up a Go Fund Me to help cover the operating cost of our program, our Zoom subscription and website fees. We are actually filing for official nonprofit status. It’s very exciting,” instructor Bella Grace Finck added.

To register your elementary student for the free classes go to www.projectengagerva.org