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Home / Duke Freyermuth

Duke Freyermuth, Who Helped Monrovia Students for Decades, Retires

It a started in 2001 with a dozen or so Maryknoll nuns and a few community volunteers: Monrovia’s Pro Active Tutoring (PAT) with Duke Freyermuth at the helm. Already retired from his counseling position in the Monrovia school district, Freyermuth was ready to tackle a new project, PAT provided the opportunity. With Monrovia Reads providing the necessary seed money to get the project started, the tutoring program in Monrovia schools and at the library has grown.

It is a no-cost tutoring program for all Monrovia students. PAT was the brainchild of Monrovia Unified School District (MUSD) Assistant Superintendent Joel Shawn, Monrovia Reads founding President Joanne Spring and Freyermuth, a 33-year counselor in Monrovia schools. They knew that not all parents could afford the tutoring their children needed. PAT provided the solution.

Thatfirst group of volunteers led to college students who were paid for their assistance. Mostof these tutors were paid through funds obtained from matching grants based onthe monies supplied by Monrovia Reads. The money was handled by the schooldistrict. But this was only a part of the PAT program. In addition tothe college student tutors, there were the community volunteers (including someof those wonderful Maryknoll nuns) who continued to work with students whoneeded a bit of help.

Eventually,Duke reached out to Advanced Placement students at Monrovia High School (MHS). Theseyoung people volunteered in three ways. Some worked at MHS as peer tutorshelping their fellow students. They set up in the library after school at deskslabeled chemistry, calculus, etc. indicating the tutor’s area ofexpertise. Others volunteered to work with struggling middle school students.Parents of all the academically challenged middle schoolers were given theopportunity to have their child involved with a tutor, a wonderfully successfulprogram. Still other MHS students volunteer their time at Monrovia PublicLibrary helping younger students with everything from reading to basic math andmore. The high school tutors are not paid for their efforts but do it becauseit has become important to them. Again, Monrovia Reads tries to encouragethem with some small recognition.

Duke Freyermuth
Duke Freyermuth. – Courtesy photo

Thereare also community volunteers at the library as well as the high schoolstudents. All these programs have one goal in mind: helping the students inMonrovia schools and ensuring they have every opportunity to succeed. Astudent has to work hard to avoid getting help in Monrovia schools.

Atthe center of all these programs for the last 19 years has beenFreyermuth. Now, more than half a million hours of tutoring have beenlogged in these 19 years. While Freyermuth does receive a stipend for hisefforts, this cannot compensate him for his more than 40-hour weeks and all thedriving he does for the program, personally visiting every school and the library.

Hislong-time friend and co-worker at MUSD and Monrovia Reads, Joanne Spring wroteof him, “Duke’s rallying cry from the very beginning was, ‘Service is lovemade visible!’ He has walked the walk every step of the way!!! He is,indeed, a humble and amazing man advocate of children and youth!”

Dr.Katherine Thorossian echoed those sentiments and expanded on them writing:

“DukeFreyermuth created an unparalleled system of support for all Monrovia Unifiedstudents. Pro Active Tutoring does more than just offer studentsadditional academic help when they need it — though that alone is invaluable.The opportunity to help others instills in tutors confidence and self-worth —if either were lacking. It also reminds those being tutored that they are partof a larger community, with a network of support upon which they can depend andto which they, too, will contribute.

“Dukemay be leaving us; but his legacy will live on in the fabric of Monrovia and,especially, in the success of students for generations to come. On behalfof generations of Monrovia Unified students past, present, and future, thankyou, Duke, for your vision and your heart.”

Andnow he is retiring completely to move closer to grandchildren in Texas. Hewill be missed by the entire community, especially the students who havebenefited from his kind guidance. Monrovia Reads celebrated his effortswith a drive-by parade on Wednesday morning this week.

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