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St. Martin de Porres Society Provides Volunteer Tutoring Services
Graphic: St. Martin de PorresEducation is the key to success within the African-American community. With this in mind, the University of St. Thomas’ St. Martin de Porres Society has partnered with St. Mary of the Purification Montessori School to develop a tutoring program that will encourage young students to be enthusiastic about academics.

The six-week tutoring program began last fall. Building on the success of the first semester, the St. Martin de Porres Society will resume the tutoring program March 1 through May 8.

The program recruited alumni, faculty and current students to volunteer as tutors focusing on mathematics and reading comprehension. The tutors met with the students in kindergarten through fifth grade every Tuesday and Thursday during the school’s extended day program.

“I don’t think you are ever too young to start getting excited about education and college,” said Ryane Jackson, the UST Assistant Director of Annual Giving. “To have college kids come help you tutor when you are in the third grade, that is pretty cool.”

The program was started by Mitchell Fontenot, the St. Martin de Porres Society president. An educator himself, Fontenot felt it important, not only for the society, but for himself to help the educational system of the city. Originally, the program was aimed at middle school students, but after meeting with the school’s principal they decided that St. Mary’s was a good fit.

“The children loved it,” said Jackson. “They have grown attached to some of the tutors and are asking when they will come back.”

The St. Martin de Porres Society is named for the patron saint of public education, race relations and social justice, who was noted for his work with the poor. The tutoring program is in line with the organization’s mission to support and develop black students at UST and in the surrounding Houston community.

The St. Martin de Porres Society is the University of St. Thomas’ black alumni group. The mission of the Society is to maximize black alumni participation in the affairs of the University and to promote personal growth within the black student body. The Society is devoted to supporting the recruitment, retention, development and graduation of UST’s current and prospective black students in the surrounding Houston community while helping to instill a sense of pride in their alma mater.

For more information about the tutoring program or on joining the St. Martin de Porres Society, contact Ryane Jackson at

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