The Youth Passion Project

Free online courses, taught by High School students, to foster the passions of younger learners.



The Youth Passion Project (YPP) provides free online courses to younger students given by High School students to both supplement and expand their learning during the extended school closure.

In light of the COVID-19 virus, students have far more free time in their schedules. We believe this time could be used to explore new topics of interest that they otherwise would not have time to learn. We offer courses ranging from Songwriting to Introduction to Coding in Java.

Courses are taught by high school students who have a passion for their subject and would love to share their knowledge with others.



Instructional Classes

Our classes are taught on the Zoom video chat program. Students can raise their hands with questions, see the screens of their instructors for sample problems, and use the interactive whiteboard.

All instructors take security precautions to protect Zoom meetings, which include manually approving verified students into the meeting room.

We offer instructional classes that teach students new topics of interest. The class sessions emphasize teaching and practicing new concepts.

We have classes that could aid schoolwork, like Analytical Writing, but also have courses to teach students new skills, like Fundamentals of Philosophy.


See the course catalog for more information on the classes we teach.

Class Duration

Classes meet two times a week for a duration of around 40 minutes per class. They are scheduled to meet students' availability.


The Online Classroom



Vivian Guo

Vivian is a Junior at SHS and serves as a humanities and Spanish instructor. She is an active member on the Speech and Debate team and serves as the novice captain. She also mentors three other students around the nation in LD debate. In her free time, Vivian enjoys running and reading philosophy.

Karen Lee

Karen is a Creative Writing Instructor and a junior at Scarsdale High School, where she is a varsity officer for the Debate team. She is also a cellist, and she has played in Carnegie Hall as well as being the principal cellist of her local orchestra. During her free time, Karen likes to write, read, and sleep.

Zachary Siegel

Zach is the director of YPP and also serves as a Computer Science Instructor. Currently taking BC Calculus at Scarsdale High School, Zach is also working on research to visualize the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities with a paper being published later this summer.

Sam Hurwitz

Sam is a Creative Writing, Music, and Film instructor. He is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who has been writing songs and performing since the age of nine. He is also well-versed in digital music/MIDI. Sam has won numerous awards for his songwriting and musical performances, as well as writing awards in the categories of novel writing, poetry, and short story. He also loves to make films and can help in all aspects of the process, such as scripting, storyboarding, shooting, editing, and scoring. He’s excited to share his passions with others.

Aanya Schoetz

Aanya helps manage things behind the scenes as well as is a philosophy and analytical writing instructor. She is currently in the process of writing a book on the origins of historical conflict, which will be published this summer. She is also a varsity officer on the speech and debate team. Aanya loves reading, writing poetry, and listening to philosophy podcasts in her spare time.


George Liu

George is a student at Scarsdale High School and the instructor for the Essence of Web Development course who hopes to share his love of programming with others. Dedicated to improving education, he also founded and created Midway, a Chrome extension that reminds students and faculty of the school schedule.

Megan Niu

Megan is a junior at Scarsdale High School, where she participates in Mock Trial and student government. In her free time, she plays tennis, loves to travel, and is currently learning her fifth language.

Sam Cohen

Sam Cohen is a computer science instructor. He has developed several games using Unity and has taken AP computer science. In his free time Sam likes to cook and read.

Riddha Iyengar

Natalie Dowd

Natalie is a junior at SHS and teaches Introduction to 3D Modeling. She has taken several classes in engineering and product development, and also has hands-on workshop experience. She is a varsity volleyball player and a member of the mock trial team. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with friends.

Minori Nakazawa

Minori is a junior at Scarsdale High School and the instructor for Japanese and Intro to Psychology. She is a member of the international club, has been doing abacus and competitive calculations for over 8 years, and won an award in the 2019 All-USA calculation contest. In her free time, Minori likes to read and draw.

Riddha is a SHS sophomore. Sanskrit, Tamil and Spanish are few of the languages she learns.  She likes to write poems and fiction and few of them received awards. She trains in western classical music and in south Indian classical music from a very young age.  She writes for her school news paper - maroon, She is a club officer of Habitat for Humanity and volunteers during her free time for various causes. She loves to travel and explore the world.

Sam Lippmann

Sam is a junior at Scarsdale High School. He has performed stand-up comedy since he was ten years old, primarily at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, on the same stage where comedy idols like Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin, and Chris Rock have performed. Also passionate about writing, Sam has received awards in the genres of humor, sci-fi, and short fiction. He is thrilled to share his passion for stand-up. In his spare time, Sam likes to read and walk his dog, Murphy Brown.

Mia De la Fuente

Mia De la Fuente is a painter, sculptor and drawing artist. She has sold several paintings and works for commissions. She will be your art instructor if you so choose. Her passions include drawing, painting, traveling, watching TV and playing with her dog.

Vlad Asriev

Vlad is a Senior at Scarsdale High School and is the instructor of Introduction to Ballroom Dancing for YPP. He has been dancing competitively for more than 10 years and previously won several categories at the USA Dance Nationals. He is the president and choreographer of the SHS Latin and Ballroom Dance Club. In his free time, Vlad likes to bike, listen to music, watch movies, and learn TikTok dances for fun.

Ethan Gu

Ethan is a Junior at SHS and a chess instructor. Along with chess, he is also part of the math and debate team. Ethan is very passionate about chess and competes in tournaments regularly. He hopes to share his passion with others through YPP.

Jack Silvers

Jack Silvers is a senior at Scarsdale High School and an instructor in public speaking. As a captain of the SHS Speech and Debate Team, Jack has competed regionally and nationally in Extemporaneous Speaking, a limited-preparation speech category focused on current events. Jack is an avid reader of The Economist and in his free time enjoys playing the piano and watching Netflix.

Abhinav Vittal

Abhinav Vittal is a senior at Scarsdale High School and an instructor in public speaking. As a captain of the SHS Speech and Debate Team, Abhinav has competed regionally and nationally in Extemporaneous Speaking, a limited-preparation speech category focused on current events. Abhinav loves economics, political science, and physics. In his spare time, he loves playing/watching football, basketball, and tennis, eating mac and cheese, and watching either YouTube or Netflix.

Wolf Cukier

Wolf is a Senior at Scarsdale High School and works behind the scenes to help YPP run smoothly. Wolf helped to discover the planet TOI-1338b which recently made national news.

Curtis Chang

Curtis is a Junior and an origami instructor. He additionally is a varsity officer of the Speech and Debate Team. Outside of school, Curtis enjoys playing the piano, cooking, and spending time with friends.

Lily Kronenberg

Lily Kronenberg is a senior at Scarsdale High School. She studies French, Latin, and Ancient Greek at SHS. In her free time, Lily serves as co-president of the SHS Math Team, senior class secretary, and co-captain of the SHS Girls’ Golf team. She also loves playing the violin, viola, and piano, reading, and spending time with her three brothers.

Deyuan Li

Deyuan is a senior at Scarsdale High School and the instructor for Introduction to Probability and Statistics as well as Introduction to Chess. He is an active member and co-president of SHS Math Team and Bridge Club. Additionally, he participates in numerous math, computer science, and physics competitions outside of school. In his free time, Deyuan enjoys skiing, playing tennis, and playing the violin.

Max Almedia

Max Almeida is one of the computer science instructors. He is the programming director of the Scarsdale High School robotics team and has taken AP computer science. In his free time Max enjoys to learn about history.

Ava Vernor

Ava is a junior at New Rochelle High School and a Creative Writing Instructor. She has received recognition in the National and Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for the past five years. Her pieces typically center around issues that young people are facing today. Through Ava’s writing, she seeks to inspire others towards positive forms of self-expression. She’s passionate about songwriting, playwriting, and poetry, and will typically spend her free time either painting or on Spotify.

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 © 2020 by Zachary Siegel

We are not affiliated with the Scarsdale Union Free School District.