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High school student helps classmates with homework and keeps them connected

Sunset High School junior Levi Houtters created a way to offer homework help to his classmates, but also provide a social space where students can keep in touch.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Junior year of high school has that reputation for being the toughest.

“Supposedly the hardest just got harder,” said Levi Houtters, a student at Sunset High School in Beaverton.

Houtters is in the middle of his junior year, and he acknowledges the challenges that this year has brought.

“When COVID initially hit, my initial reaction was, 'Great, what is going to happen?’ I was still struggling with just trying to stay motivated and just trying to enjoy myself with school,” he said.

Quarantined and bored, Houtters needed something to pass the time that would help him recapture his list motivation. Using his tech savvy, he crated a channel for Sunset High School students on an online platform called Discord. It’s a place where classmates can seek out homework help from Levi.

Credit: Levi Houtters

“You have all your science classes, all the math classes, all the world languages and social studies,” said Houtters .

The rules and expectations are clear when you sign up. It’s not affiliated with the school, but it’s open to any student at Sunset. Houtters said he gets help from staff to verify students before they’re added. Right now there’s about 60 kids with access.

“A lot of teachers have said, 'Yes this is the thing we need. This is something we needed from even March," Houtters said. "And some teachers have said, ‘Why isn't this a thing? This is amazing.’”

For Houtters, it’s about making sure there is a learning experience and not just giving out the answers, all while staying connected. He plans to keep it up as long as he’s in school, even after in-person learning resumes. He hopes to find someone to take over once he graduates in a couple years.

“I guess it's more of…I just want to help other people,” Houtters said.