The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

Ms. H to the math rescue

Hameister helping students
Trapeze staff
Hameister helping students

When senior Savana Shipp has a test in her College Algebra Trigonometry class, you will find her that morning in the back of the third floor library. Shipp, like many students, is a frequent visitor of Gretchen Hameister, more affectionately known as Ms. H, one of the math tutors of Oak Park and River Forest High School. 

Hameister started working at OPRF about 10 years ago after working for Bell Labs in the computer science industry. 

“I took some time off and I saw this little job open up,”  said Hameister. “And I love math, so I thought it would give me an opportunity to work with students and share my love for math.”

With her help, students grow to love math as well. “Ms. H helps me so much with my work. I’m in IA [Intermediate Algebra] and she just makes it make sense. I sometimes like doing math now,” said sophomore Mark Dickel.

Shipp agreed. “I think the appeal of tutoring from Ms. H is that she is just so good at explaining things clearly,” she said.

“Ms. H is such an amazing teacher in our school. She’s so helpful but she’s also so kind, always asking about your day,” said junior Caroline Mann, who also takes College Algebra Trigonometry Honors.

“The students are my favorite part of the job. They’re inspirational. They’re doing what they need to do to help themselves,” said Hameister. 

Hameister tutors in all math subjects at OPRF, but when she came to OPRF, she hadn’t taught math before. “It was definitely [a] growing experience,” Hameister said. “And seeing how other math teachers approached students helped me a lot.”

She finds the work rewarding, she said. “I will say every day brings different problems, which is also interesting,” added Hameister. “Sometimes I remember from previous years certain problems, and then occasionally a problem will come up that I’ve never seen, so it’s fun to see the differences.”

While she loves math and computer science, Hameister has many interests outside of the tutoring center. “I’m very into the outdoors. I like hiking, biking, all that kind of thing. So if I’ve time off, I like to get out there,” she said. 

In her time in the tutoring center, Hameister said she has noticed a disproportionate number of higher-level math students who come in for help. 

“Whenever I’m there, I mostly see calculus or pre-calc students. I don’t know why more kids from other classes don’t go to her. She’s a really good tutor,” added Shipp. 

Hameister wants every student, regardless of their math level, to know that, “You’re welcome here. People won’t judge you based on your questions at all. I think it makes you seem smarter when you ask questions and seek out help…We are friendly and happy to see you.”

Hameister can be found in the second floor tutoring center before school, and in Room 3315D from first through seventh period, Monday through Friday.

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