Toman hopes SAT prep program becomes a tradition


Photo via Ava Bell

Senior Grace Toman provides free tutoring sessions for SAT prep.

Ava Bell and Amanda Booth

As students struggle with the costly expenses of SAT preparation, senior Grace Toman has been helping by providing free tutoring sessions.

“I really want to do some SAT prep, especially for the kids who can’t afford it,” Toman said.

Toman is already involved in the National Honor Society as a vice president of service, so the free SAT tutoring also gives those involved in NHS an opportunity to earn volunteer hours. 

Toman’s idea came from a final project for a program at Duquesne University that she participated in last spring. Her original idea was to bring technology to children who lack access to it, but then she redirected to the topic of equity in SAT preparation. 

Principal Shaun Tomaszewski gave the green light for Toman.

“I’ve wanted to spin up some sort of SAT prep program at BHS over the past few years, so when Grace came to me and shared her interest, I told her that I’d support her in any way that I could,” Tomaszewski said. 

With the use of the College Board website, Toman prints out the online unofficial practice tests for the students to use.

“I just printed out a bunch of them. People just come up to the library and they take it, and I grade it for them,” Toman said.

Students can email Toman about specific session dates, but the program is designed so students can walk in and get help. 

Toman expected her idea to be more difficult than it has been.

“It has definitely been manageable for me so far,” Toman said. 

Toman has recruited other students to help her with the sessions, which will especially be helpful when March comes around and more students participate in the spring testing.

The only challenge that occurs for her is balancing her numerous school activities, volunteering, and her work schedule. She works at a doggy daycare, has secured a volunteer position at the soon-to-open Moonshot Museum, and has interviewed to volunteer at Planned Parenthood. 

“I do lots of random volunteering things. Volunteering in general is a big thing for me,” she said.

Toman is a part of several activities at Baldwin in addition to running the SAT prep. She participates in Sea Perch, Science Club, and is the president of Literary Guild.

She struggled with the pressure of balancing her academics with her extracurricular activities during her junior year. 

“I think a lot of the guidance that my teachers gave me at the end of last year is really helping me get ahead this year,” Toman said. 

History teacher Kate Deemer has been a role model for Toman and has helped prepare her for future ambitions. 

“Grace and I have worked on study skills together,” Deemer said. “We really bonded over our shared love of history and politics.”

Those study skills and time management ideas have made Toman better prepared for college, she said. Her top choices for a college to attend are Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University. She wants to major in biochemistry or chemistry. 

As for the future of the SAT tutoring, Toman is hoping her project will continue after her graduation.

“I don’t want to just help my grade and the grade below me,” Toman said.