It was in March of 2020, right as the Covid-19 pandemic was picking up steam, when two brothers from Plainview decided to launch an online tutoring service. Mitchell and Zachary Meyer, two Plainview-Old Bethpage High School students, initially created Blast Off Tutoring as a way to complete community service hours for induction into the National Honors Society.
“At the time, obviously there was no way for us to get our in-school hours for induction, so we had to think outside of the box to offer services to the community,” said Mitchell, now a senior at Plainview-Old Bethpage . “My brother and I had always done peer tutoring, so we worked it out with the NHS to put together a virtual tutoring platform to streamline the process.”
With the help of his brother Zach, who had a background in web development, the duo formed Blastofftutoring.com. The online service was a way to provide students with free online tutoring sessions by their peers, while giving community service opportunities for students looking to bolster their resumes.
“As everyone knows, tutoring can be an expensive endeavor, and this online service offers free tutoring sessions not just to school districts on Long Island, but to students all across the country,” said Mitchell.
He said that last year was about getting the data sent out and getting the website up and fully operational.
“Really, the beginning of this year was when we really got going, with services like virtual video chatting and whiteboard, and when a lot of students across the country joined the site.”
According to his data , there are 412 total students on the website, with about half of them being tutors.
Blast Off has tutors and students from all across the country joined on, from Long Island to states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Indiana.
“On the site we have what’s called an inter-school platform and a national platform, where both tutors and students can connect from not just one school district, but from multiple school districts throughout the country,” said Mitchell.
When students sign-on to the website, they can connect with other students and tutors, and after each session, tutors will receive points for their community service hours as part of National Honors Society requirements.
As for why the brothers chose the name Blast Off, Mitchell said that the idea was that they were launching someone towards a successful academic career.
“It was the peer-to-peer aspect, where one student launches another towards success. After all we are just one big scholastic community.”