“We’ve been in Jasper since August 2012, so we’re going on our sixth school year. We open every day around 1:00 for homeschool students, college students, adults going back to school or retaking the ACT, even nursing students – any nontraditional students are with us from 1:00-3:00, and then our K-12 public school students are here from about 3:30 until 7:30. Typically I am with high school and college students, and we have tutors that specialize in middle school as well as elementary tutoring.”
“Before I came here, I tutored at a center in Nashville for about four years. I’m from Jasper originally and went to Curry High School. Most of my 20s were spent in Nashville, and when I would come back and visit for the holidays, people would ask me what I was doing and when I told them I was tutoring they would say oh, I wish we had a tutoring center in Jasper. At first, I really didn’t know what the situation was. Of course, teachers and other individuals were helping students after school at local churches or libraries. But I wasn’t sure if the problem was that no one was brave enough to start a tutoring center, or that the community just wouldn’t support it.”
“I decided to test the waters with an ACT Boot Camp. We set up the week-long camp and held it in the basement of a church, starting out with just 10 students. We didn’t know if anyone would show up, but the class filled up within just a few days of announcing it. At the time, the closest ACT help for students was located in Birmingham. It was a long drive, so I think a lot of people weren’t able to do it, even if their kids needed the help. As we began to talk to more parents, we realized there truly was a huge need in the community for a tutoring center.”
“I was just so passionate about Walker County because I knew how difficult it was to find help growing up. There are online tutoring services now, but it is so important – especially with math and science – to get in front of a student and really get hands-on.”
-Jennifer Sparks, owner & director of Jasper Tutoring Center
Photo + Interview by Blakeney Cox
Visit www.jaspertutoringcenter.comor call (205) 282-9090 for more information.