by LIZ ONUFER | photo by Soul of Photography 

Top Tutor

student_sarkar2What began as a summer youth ambassador position with San Diego’s International Rescue Committee in 2013 has led to much more for 17-year-old Shovik Sarkar. Today, Shovik has used the experience to open many doors, not just for himself but for the many refugee children he serves through tutoring.

As a youth ambassador, Shovik volunteered as a tutor in City Heights and learned first-hand the critical need for tutoring of refugee children. “A leader from the Burundi community suggested that I would get better results in helping the children through home tutoring,” Shovik explained. Heeding the suggestion, in November 2013 Shovik opened the virtual doors of Each One Teach One tutoring. The program is unique in that all the tutors are teens. “I recruited and trained youth who became online tutors from San Diego County, Texas, Florida, and India,” shared Shovik. “Collectively, we have provided 400 hours of tutoring to 16 to 19 students.” Shovik also offers SAT and brain training workshops. “I have been fortunate in getting financial support from my neighbors, teachers, and mentors to provide school supplies and books for students,” he acknowledged.

Name: Shovik Sarkar (17)
School: San Dieguito Academy
Grade: 12
Parents: Sheila Mitra-Sarkar and Sutanu Sarkar
Favorite Spots in 92024: Manchester Preserve, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Barnes & Noble, The Kebab Shop


Shovik was recognized by the Encinitas Youth Commission as the 2014 Youth of the Year. “The title is an excellent tribute to a youth of Encinitas who has made a difference in the lives of others through volunteering,” he said. “The fact that it is selected by other youth makes it unique.”

A senior at San Dieguito Academy, Shovik has participated in the Mustang Minds Academic Team, National Honors Society, Math Club, and Speech and Debate. He shared that his favorite subject is math because he enjoys finding the answers to problems with many variables. In fact, solving problems is also Shovik’s hobby. He enjoys Mensa puzzles and is currently designing puzzles and algebra word problems to use for tutoring and teaching.

Shovik volunteered as a tutor in City Heights and learned first-hand the critical need for tutoring of refugee children.

With college quickly approaching, Shovik will be choosing between UCSD’s renowned Cognitive Science program and UCLA’s top-ranked Department of Psychology. Both offer great opportunities towards his goal of becoming a software developer and researcher. “I want to create my own free-share, dynamically leveled brain training program that will be comprised of different types of verbal, number, and logic puzzles,” he explained. In the meantime, Shovik said he will continue to manage his tutoring program and answer the “desperate texts from my students asking me to help them out with math problems.”