Top Hat Tutors could rest on its reputation.
The after-school service — conceived of and created by Staples High student Charlie Jersey, then sold for $1 to Nick Massoud and, after him, Vig Namasavayam — is thriving. Nearly 40 Stapleites help a few dozen clients. The tutors are sharp, and relate well with their tutees.
But this year’s senior owners — president Jay Mudholkar and vice president Evan Feder, who purchased Top Hat for the now-traditional $1 from Vig — are doing more. They’re expanding their business: reaching out to students as young as elementary school; offering more areas (like computer science and music), and moving beyond Westport (to Fairfield, Norwalk, even Greenwich).
Jay and Evan — friends since 6th grade, who spent most of the summer fine-tuning Top Hat — point with pride to a 4th grader who loves sports. He’s now working with a tutor who shares that interest — and is a great role model, for both books and balls.
“It’s not only about getting an A on a test,” Jay says. “We also want younger kids to connect with older ones.”
Two elementary school brothers love chess. Top Hat found a chess-playing tutor — and another excellent role model.
“Anything we do at Staples, we can provide a tutor for,” Evan says.
Not everyone can be a Top Hat tutor. Sixty students applied for positions this summer. Only 38 were chosen.
Some clients are tutored weekly. Others call for one session — when, for example, there’s a big test ahead.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable,” Jay says. “We don’t want a stressful environment. We think we’re pretty chill.”
Though Top Hat is headed in new directions, one thing has not changed. The standard rate of $40 is the same as when Charlie began several years ago.
And when Jay and Evan sell their expanded company next spring, the price will once again be just $1.
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