Mentor Spotlight

Every semester, amazing students from across McGill volunteer as mentors for Homework Zone. This page is where we put a spotlight on their efforts and thank them for everything that they do.

Winter 2020

Clement Zheng - Karonhianónhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa Elementary School

Written by Ayoub Rebaine

Meet Clement Zheng, an incredible mentor with Homework Zone at Karonhianónhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa Elementary School.

Currently in U4 and a student in the Faculty of Science, Clement has previously volunteered in many different settings, namely in hospitals, and he has also been an undergraduate TA. At Karonhianónhnha, he has been helping his mentees Shakohahi:ioste and Ratonhnhaké:ton in Grades 5 and 6 with their math homework. He has shown how he can adapt to new situations and is willing to offer helping other students who may need it with the many teaching tips that he has!

Catalin Suarasan -LaSalle Elementary

Written by Chloé Soucy

Meet Catalin Suarasan! He is one of our veteran volunteers, coming back to mentor for a total of 5 semesters!

Originally from Romania, he immigrated here when he was 5 years old. He is a U3 in Physiology.

When asked about his favorite memory with his mentee, he wrote, "I think my fondest memory is when my mentee opened up to me after a bad day. Just having that feeling of trust from your mentee and him feeling like he could talk to me made me really happy and I was happy that I could be there for him."

When asked what keeps him coming back to HZ, he wrote, "I think what keeps me coming back every week and every semester is the bond you develop with your mentee. I feel like through this bond I truly have a positive impact on my mentee’s life even though I only see him once a week. To me at this point he’s more like a little brother than a mentee, it’s really fun to spend time with him."

Thank you Catalin for your energetic and authentic mentorship

Aniya Reis – Riverview Elementary

Written by Chloe Soucy

Meet Amiya Reis! Amiya has been a fantastic volunteer for two semesters now. She is from Toronto, Ontario, currently in her first year at McGill (studying towards her Bachelor of Education in physical health).

When asked about her Homework Zone experience, she says: "This is my second semester working with HZ with many more to come! HZ for me is a space where I get to disconnect from my busy school schedule and have fun with my mentees. Seeing my girls always brightens my day and I always go home afterwards joyous as though I can accomplish anything!"

When asked about her Homework Zone experience, she says: "This is my second semester working with HZ with many more to come! HZ for me is a space where I get to disconnect from my busy school schedule and have fun with my mentees. Seeing my girls always brightens my day and I always go home afterwards joyous as though I can accomplish anything!"

Thank you for your dedication and positive spirit, Amiya!

Emily Liang - Kahnawà:ke Survival School

Written by Emily Booker

Meet Emily Liang! This is Emily's third semester as a mentor and her second semester mentoring at the Kahnawà:ke Survival School, where she is a star mentor! Emily’s positive attitude, motivation, and commitment to the program have made her an extraordinary mentor and valuable member of the Homework Zone community!

""When asked about her decision to return to Homework Zone, Emily said “I decided to return for my third semester of Homework Zone because I love the sense of community that it builds. As a McGill student, I don’t get much of an opportunity to explore the greater Montreal area, so volunteering for Homework Zone is a great way to get out of the bubble a little! I get to meet and become friends with a lot of amazing people that I would have never met otherwise, and I am really grateful for it.”

Emily also shared her favourite part of mentoring: “My favourite part of Homework Zone is when I can learn something from my mentee. Some kids are pretty shy at first, and the homework can act as a bit of a conversation greaser as they start to open up and tell me about their likes and dislikes, hobbies, non-school lives, etc. The best part is talking to a student and chancing upon a topic that they’re very knowledgeable and passionate about. Suddenly our roles are reversed: they become the patient and enthusiastic teacher, while I’m getting schooled on the intricacies of Minecraft or Ariana Grande’s wigs. It keeps me young.”

The Homework Zone community is extremely thankful for Emily’s hard work and positivity! Thank you, Emily!!

Fall 2019

Emma Graham - Karonhianónhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa Elementary School

""Meet Emma Graham, an incredible mentor with Homework Zone at Karonhianónhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa Elementary School.

Currently in U3 and studying History and French, Emma has previously been a Homework Zone mentor at Pierre-Elliott Trudeau and Parkdale Elementary schools for the 2017-2018 school year. Emma has always enjoyed working with youth. In the past, she has volunteered at a daycare centre in Italy and was also a summer camp counsellor. At Karonhianónhnha, she has been helping students in Grade 5 and Grade 6 with their math homework.

Emma has shown that she can adapt to new situations and is willing to offer helping other students who may need it. She has also been putting her creative muscle to work with the students. Last week, she helped her mentees make crowns to go along with their Halloween costumes out of newspaper! Emma's mentees enjoy playing board games with her (specifically SORRY!) and her compassionate and cheerful attitude makes everyone enjoy being around her!

All of us at Homework Zone would like to thank Emma for all the amazing work that she does on a weekly basis, and for returning this semester to volunteer her time once again. We’re looking forward to all that she still has to offer!

Noa Fragneau - Howard S. Billings High School

Written by Drake D'Souza

""Meet Noa Fragneau, one of the wonderful Howard S. Billings High School Homework Zone mentors! Noa, who is originally from the west coast of France came to McGill after also spending a year as an exchange student in the USA. She is currently studying Education as a Kindergarten / Elementary teacher in the French Immersion Program.

Since joining Homework Zone this semester Noa has continually impressed with her enthusiasm, patience and compassion. She is adored and appreciated by all that she works with!

When asked why she comes back to Homework Zone, Noa said “I really want to see [my mentee] succeed in French. I see that he knows what to do and what to say most of the time but doesn’t necessarily trust himself enough which prevent him from developing his French. I see a lot of myself in him and I hope I can help him understand French as well as progressing. It is also a great practice as a future teacher to adapt exercises, practices, and lessons to a specific student’s needs.”

This semester Noa is most proud of the progress her mentee has made thus far. Seeing him believe him in himself more and more each session has made her incredibly proud. She is thrilled to be able to assist in his journey and congratulate him along the way, especially knowing first-hand how difficult the French language could be to pick up.

All of us here at Homework Zone are tremendously thankful for the positivity, dedication and inspiring attitude Noa brings to the program. Thank you Noa!

Aaron Maccosham – Kahnawa:ke Survival School

Written by Emily Booker

Meet Aaron Maccosham, a standout Homework Zone mentor! Aaron is in his second year of Master’s of Science in Epidemiology.

This is Aaron’s third semester as a mentor, he has been a fantastic member of the homework zone community! Last year Aaron participated in the homework helpers’ program at Karonhianonhnha Tsi Elementary School in Kahnawa:ke and this year he is a mentor at the Kahnawake Survival School. During his time in with the program Aaron has continually impressed with his positive attitude, leadership skills and ability to connect with the mentees.

When asked about his decision to return to the program this year, Aaron said “I am excited to be mentoring with Homework Zone at Kahnawake Survival School (KSS)! Last year, I mentored several Karonhianonhnha Grade 6 students. In addition to furthering my connection with the students every week, it was extremely gratifying to watch my mentees improve their grades over the year. It felt as if I was making a meaningful difference in their lives. For my mentees, the new school year brings a transition from elementary school to high school. As such, I thought that the best way to serve my mentees was to also make this transition, but as a mentor! I am looking forward to providing these students with some continuity and mentor new students.”

One of his highlights mentoring it was “when my mentees visited our campus for My Day At McGill! I was late to join the group as I was finishing my final exam. Upon my arrival, being met with the students’ excitement helped me forget my exam worries. Their warm welcome made me feel as if our connection transcended the classroom. For the remainder of their visit, I informed them about the wonderful opportunities at McGill, answered their questions about university life, and their plans for high school.” Thank you for everything you do Aaron!

Ruken Alimogullari – Lasalle Elementary

Written by Chloé Soucy

Ruken is a superstar mentor! She is from Ankara, Turkey. She is in her third year at McGill, studying Psychology. She is committed to her mentees, always showing up to spend time with them. They always leave with smiles on their faces. When asked why she shows up every week to HZ, she said “because I like working and interacting with the kids. I also feel like they’re looking forward to Homework Zone every week, and I wouldn’t want them to think that I don’t care enough to be there every week - even though there might be a valid reason to not be there, it might be harder for the kids to understand and they might just think the mentor doesn’t care. I wouldn’t want them to feel that way.”

""Her favorite memory with her mentees is “when we were cleaning up after the newspaper costume activity, I saw a page in one of the newspapers where they had really pretty artwork. My mentees were around me so I said to them, “oh look, these look so pretty”. One of my mentees was joking around and he ripped the page to be funny and we all laughed. Later, another mentee that I was working with that day because their mentor wasn’t here, he found the same page I liked in another newspaper, and was like, “Look, there’s another one. Do you want to keep it?” and that was really cute of him. I still have the newspaper he gave me!”

Ruken handles their high energy with confidence! Thank you Ruken, for your positivity and commitment!

Sana Agarwal – Riverview Elementary

Written by Chloé Soucy

Meet Sana, our Riverview Elementary superstar mentor! Originally from Delhi, India, she is in her first year at McGill, studying Psychology. Though this is her first time mentoring with Homework Zone, Sana has impressed us with her quiet and capable mentorship! She has shown up week after week to support her mentee, and has encouraged him to come out of his shell. Not only is Sana committed to showing up for each Homework Zone session, but she also attended a recent Tutoring Workshop, demonstrating how much Sana cares about being the best mentor for her mentee.

""When asked why she keeps showing up to HZ each week, Sana said “I want to make sure my mentee knows I’m going to be there for him, helping him in whatever way I can”. Her fondest memory with her mentee is: “My mentee asked me what my favorite Halloween candy is and said he might bring one next week. He's generally shy and doesn’t talk much with me so this was really surprising and I was glad he was opening up and had started to accept me as a friend which is what I have been wanting from the start!”

Elliot Zolfaghar – Verdun Elementary

Written by Haeun Kim

""Meet Elliot! Currently in U1 studying honours in Chemistry and Neuroscience, Elliot was a Homework Zone mentor at Parkdale elementary school in 2018-19. He has always enjoyed helping children with the problems they are going through, whether it be with homework or other aspects of their life. He has experience working with youth in grades 5 and 6, and is currently working with a 12-year-old boy at Verdun Elementary.

He always comes to the sessions with a cheerful atmosphere and tries to lift up everyone’s mood. He skillfully interacts with everyone around him and tries to aid them with their tasks. As an experienced mentor, he is always mindful of his mentee and constantly puts in the effort to show his mentee how supportive he is of them. The empathy and understanding that he offers are truly what makes him an amazing mentor.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed, and from all of us at the Homework zone, we would like to thank Elliot for all the great work he has done during his time with us. We are eager to see what he will accomplish in the future at Homework Zone and beyond!

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Click here for more information on land acknowledgements.

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