Raya Maggay is a dedicated tutor who started an affordable peer-to-peer tutoring service AS A SECOND SEMESTER SENIOR (and she’s part of the first generation in her family to go to college!). She and three other seniors founded 4Learning, a company dedicated to fostering academic success, and most importantly, a love for learning in students attending local Los Altos and Mountain View schools.
Q: What inspired you four to come together and start 4Learning?
A: William (one of my co-founders) and I used to work at a different tutoring service, and we realized that we both love to tutor and work with kids, but weren’t getting enough exposure there. We quickly connected with Philip and Julia, who were also tutoring fanatics interested in reaching more students, and we all decided that starting 4Learning together would help us accomplish that.
Q: What distinguishes 4Learning from existing tutoring services?
A: Existing tutoring companies tend to charge a lot for their services. 4Learning is focused on providing an affordable experience in the environment that the client is most comfortable in. We often meet the student at their house, for example, rather than a small, claustrophobic room dedicated only to getting raw results.
Q: Are there tutoring services at Mountain View and Los Altos High?
A: There are, but many of the tutors are older volunteers, who are not very well acquainted with how the school systems work. They don’t know the curriculum or how the teacher runs the classroom. And that’s where we come in. We understand the situation of our clients, and can say, “I had your teacher when I was in your grade, and I know that she wants you to take notes this way, and her questions on the tests are like this.” We can provide insight on that, on top of the diverse knowledge that we have.
Q: As a business, what has 4Learning’s biggest setback been to date?
A: Our biggest setback has been advertising. Right now, we’re trying to get as many flyers and business cards as possible to float around the community, and gather likes on our Facebook page to get our name out there. The challenge is setting a solid foundation for next year’s team, which will include 2 students from Mountain View High and 2 from Los Altos High. They have to have the same passion for learning that we do, because they’ll be taking over to make 4Learning an ongoing project.
Q: One of the most amazing things about 4Learning is that you four started it as second semester seniors. Many students, especially in this area, start their projects before their college applications FOR their college applications, but you guys are genuinely personally invested in it, which is very inspiring.
A: We really love working with students, not because we want to put it on our resumes, but because we truly love learning and want to pass on that love to others. I’ve also noticed that working with other students and helping them keep up with their work makes me feel obligated to do my own work as well (even with senioritis), so it has been a two way street!
Q: Any especially memorable moments since you started tutoring?
A: One student I am working with right now is doing very well in his classes, which makes me extremely happy. He transferred from one class to another, and missed an entire unit, so I’ve been helping him get caught up. He feels more confident in class already, and I’ve talked to his teacher, who told me that he has definitely improved with my efforts and guidance since first stepping into class. That’s something amazing to hear as a tutor.
Q: Something that distinguishes you from your fellow co-founders is that you’re a part of your school’s AVID program. Can you tell us what that is?
A: AVID is a nationwide program that helps students from low income families and students who are part of the first generation in their family to go to college to become college-ready, and also provides academic help and access to scholarships.
I’ve been in the program since 7th grade, and I’m an AVID tutor, along with 9-10 other peer tutors who help out their fellow AVID program members. I tutor the AVID juniors, and it’s a wonderful experience.
Q: How has your background influenced you in starting 4Learning?
A: Unlike my fellow 4Learning peers, I have never been privately tutored, so I often had to go through academic struggles alone. The only outside help I would get would be from my teachers (if they had the time) and AVID tutors. I wanted to provide an affordable service to students in my area and give them the personalized support that I wasn’t able to get.
Q: What have you learned from working on 4Learning?
A: I’ve discovered the power of a group with the same interests working together. With teamwork, we’ve been able to reach so many more people. It has been such a privilege to work with 3 of my closest friends on a project that we really enjoy, and we’re really proud of what we’ve done.
Q: What are your personal future plans?
A: I’m headed to Cal Poly SLO next year, and plan on double majoring in mathematics and child development to hopefully become a teacher.
Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
A: I can say the alphabet backwards! z y x w v u t s r q p o n m l k j i h g f e d c b a