When Thomas O’Connor participated in Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge, he didn’t know just how useful his business would be during the global pandemic and its disruptions to learning.
As part of the academy, Thomas, a 16-year-old sophomore at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, launched Face Tutor, an app that connects students with tutors in real time. “It will allow a student to talk to a tutor and see a tutor,” Thomas says. Most other tutoring apps are text-based, which can be harder for students to grasp concepts.
Even before Zoom became a household word, Thomas realized its video chat feature could help student understanding. Providing 24/7 access, meaning students can get help at night using tutors in different time zones, is also a goal for Thomas.
Face Tutor won the academy’s investor panel competition, and Thomas received $5,000 to invest in developing the app. Thomas’ mentor, Kasra Khalili, helped him develop and perfect his presentation for the panel.
“The investor panel was my favorite thing about the program,” Thomas says. “I came in knowing barely anything about running a business. I have a binder full of notes that probably has everything under the sun about starting a small business.”
Before COVID-19 disrupted extracurricular activities, Thomas was part of the Nu Alpha Theta math competition team, in select choir, on the quiz bowl team, and in the spring play. Thomas runs track and does high jump and pole vault, and is a pianist.
Follow Face Tutor on Instagram at instagram.com/facetutorofficial.