Wayzata High School students create tutoring nonprofit helping younger students with classes

Two high school students are working to help younger students this summer through a nonprofit they co-founded.

Michelle Cao and Andrew Zhang, who are juniors at Wayzata High School, have been providing free classes and group tutoring to middle and elementary school students with their new service TutoringMN.com.

They’re already busy with schoolwork and extracurriculars, but when they learned other students in their district were in need of help in tough subjects, such as math and science, they didn’t let their own schedules hold them back.

"It just worked out really well," Cao said. "We know a lot of high school students that know a lot about these subjects and we have more time on our hands because it is summer and we all enjoy volunteering, and so it just worked out perfectly."

Cao and Zhang launched their nonprofit in June, and so far this summer they’ve tutored more than 100 students.

"I was pretty surprised because that’s a lot more than we were aiming for," Cao said.

"Because we got 100 students in such a short time, it told me this could be a big impact on many and it inspired me to push it further," Zhang said.

Roughly 10 tutors help elementary and middle school students via Zoom for free, and the sessions have gone over so well that they’ve expanded this month with a focus on students in higher-need communities and neighborhoods.

"We just went around and knocked on doors to form a dialogue and see what the needs really are," Zhang explained.

More subjects have been added as well, such as debate, ACT prep and coding.

"It just feels really great that we are helping out a group of students that really need it," Cao said.

What started as a way to help others has evolved into a deep passion for these two to better their broader community.

"I think it is worth it if we can really make an impact," Zhang said.

The program has gone over so well that it’ll continue into the fall. Cao and Zhang said they’re looking for more tutors, too.