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2022 Recipient

Sophie Wolters

Sammamish, WA | 18

2022 Award Recipient

After years of wanting to quit on her education, an academic tutor gave Sophie the confidence to succeed. Seeing how economic barriers can force students to fall behind in school, Sophie created Student Connection to provide that same access to help to students who can’t afford academic support. Pairing trained tutors with students who lack resources, Student Connection provides a key support system, directly helping hundreds of students across 70 schools. Over the course of 15,000 hours of tutoring, 96% of students improved at least one letter grade in math, 79% in English and 71% in science. New partnerships with low-income school districts in Washington state will make Student Connection available to 70,000 students. The program also provides leadership opportunities to its 280 volunteers who see the impact of their support in the growing confidence and higher grades of the students they tutor. As Student Connection continues to grow, Sophie intends to use the effort as a tool for structural change to make America’s educational system more equitable.

Student Connection

Valuing the transformative impact that an academic tutor had on her own ability to believe in herself, Sophie was troubled that families from economically disadvantaged backgrounds often cannot afford extra academic support. Sophie created Student Connection with her brother Josh to make a difference in the lives of students and provide the same motivational support that made such a deep impact on her own life. Since its founding in 2019, Student Connection has paired 500 students and trained tutors for year-long tutoring, logging 15,000 hours of tutoring sessions.