Story 4


Headline: A Student Tutor Helping High Risk Students Succeed to Higher Levels of Education

Lead: It is a Tuesday as 3 football players file into a small room.

  • write about what it is like in the room when the players come in
  • add visually appealing writing


  • explain the program and what it entails
  • add the meaning of SOMA


  • what tanna does
  • quotes
  • explain the relationship between football players and tanna
  • explain the player’s situation and why they need tutoring


  • explain what tanna has learned
  • quote
  • how it has benefit her


  • end with something exciting
  • how she will miss them?


A Student Tutor Helping High Risk Students Succeed to Higher Levels of Education

By, Olivia Levis

*players names could not be included

It is a Tuesday as three football players file into a small room. They sit down at a table and take out their text books and their assignments for the week. Tanna K. Tingstad is the one thing getting them through the semester academically. They joke around and bounce ideas off each other as Tanna helps them read their text book and finish assignments.

Tanna is a tutor in the SOMA program for high risk students at Washington State University. SOMA is a Swahili word meaning “read! learn!” This program is funded through the Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund and gives student athletes with low reading and writing skills an opportunity to receive help with their academics.

Tanna tutors 4 football players all whose first language is not English, which makes it very difficult for them to succeed in literature and writing. They are from Samoa and natively speak Samoan. Two of them are freshman and the other two are sophomores. They come in twice a week for an hour. In this hour Tanna goes over current and future assignments and makes sure they meet deadlines as well as helps them with anything they need academically.

Tanna is in the education program at WSU and is studying to become an elementary teacher. Her love for teaching is what made this job so appealing to her. Kendra Van Den Top, Tanna’s roommate said “Tanna is meant to be a teacher, I couldn’t think of a better career path for her.” Tanna said “it’s (tutoring) what solidified what I want to do with the rest of my life and how much I want to make a difference.” Tanna explained how happy it makes her when she is brought a paper from a student that she helped tutor with an A grade on it. “I’ve really seen them grow academically,” Tanna said, “it’s a really exciting feeling.” Tanna explained at first it was really hard to make a connection with them. She said that they would be very short with her, but after a few weeks they began to open up to her. Now they joke around and tell her about living in Samoa, and how to say words in Samoan, for example the word “malo” which means “good job.” She said their biggest complaint is the cold weather, but they are enjoying their time here.

This has not only benefited the students Tanna tutors but herself as well. She has to work with students that not only struggle with reading and writing English, but who are exhausted from practice and training from football. She explained how exhausted the players are when they come in and how school is the last thing on their mind. She has to come up with exciting ways to teach the material to keep them involved. Tanna said “I have a lot more respect for student athletes, their schedules are so hectic, I don’t know how they balance everything.”

Tanna will not be here next year to tutor athletes and is sad to move on but excited for her future. “I feel a really great connection with them,” Tanna said “I’m really going to miss them next year.”


Gail Gleason


Tanna Tingstad


Kendra Van Den Top



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