• 37°

Giving back: Kannapolis high schoolers invest in younger students

Giving back

Donna Sue Dwiggins and Anna Lentz talk about goals during mentoring time. Jeanie Groh/Salisbury Post

Donna Sue Dwiggins and Anna Lentz talk about goals during mentoring time. Jeanie Groh/Salisbury Post

For most high school students, it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed and make it to school on time, but a group of A.L. Brown students voluntarily show up early week after week to mentor elementary, intermediate and middle school students.

On Tuesday mornings, you can find some of these high schoolers at Fred L. Wilson Elementary School scattered around the gym talking, playing games or even competing in a game of basketball with the elementary students.

The mentoring program runs from September until mid-May, and the mentors work one-on-one with the same mentees all school year long.

“The Brown students have really made a connection with them,” said Fred L. Wilson guidance counselor Jessica Patton.

Herman Freeman, a senior at A.L. Brown, volunteered as a mentor for the first time last week. He was paired with fellow newcomer Marquis Parker, a third-grade student.

Freeman was warm and welcoming from the start.

“Hey, Marquis, my name is Herman,” he said as he greeted Parker.

The two settled down on the floor on the opposite side of the gym with another mentor-mentee pair – third-grader Zane Sanguianba and 12th grader Cameron McKnight.

“We’re making goals,” Freeman explained as they went over the sheet they were working on.

Parker said his goals were to get better at reading and to pay better attention in class. He plans to accomplish those goals by finding more books and reading more.

Sanguianba said he enjoyed the time because sometimes they get to play basketball.

McKnight said he got involved when his guidance counselor told him about the mentoring program.

“I like being a positive factor in kids younger than me’s life,” he said.

Patton said the elementary students get “so excited” about their mentoring sessions. “Every day they come in and ask, ‘Is it Tuesday?’”

According to their teachers, she added, almost all the students have seen positive change over the course of the school year.

“This time has an effect,” Patton said.

Not only do all the students love it, but they also want to keep doing it, she added.

There are mentoring programs currently set up at Fred L. Wilson, Woodrow Wilson and Jackson Park elementary schools, as well as Kannapolis Intermediate and Kannapolis Middle schools.

“Hopefully we’ll get to all of them,” said program coordinator and A.L. Brown teacher Michele Pitts.

“We have seen great growth,” Pitts said, adding that what started as a small group about five years ago has blossomed into a program with roughly 100 mentors.

The level of time invested in the program varies from mentor to mentor. While some volunteer one morning each week, others volunteer several mornings at different schools.

“They’re awesome making sure they’re here,” Pitts said. “They see the value in helping others.”

At the beginning of the school year, the mentors take an inventory and the elementary, intermediate and middle school guidance counselors then pair their students with the best mentor to fit with their needs and interest.

Those guidance counselors also choose the activity for each week, which typically includes reading and guided conversation of some sort.

Comments

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation