All News & Blogs
Brooke Point sophomores teach 'cool things' to elementary school students.
Date published: 6/12/2012
Kate Havener is small for a fourth-grader.
And the goal on the basketball court is pretty high.
The young girl throws the ball with all of her strength but it's still a few feet shy of the rim.
Enter Rasheed Powers, a 6-foot-2-inch high school basketball player. Rasheed catches the ball and lobs it into the basket.
Kate beams as if she's just thrown the game-winning three-pointer as the buzzer sounds.
Kate is a Falmouth Elementary School student, and Rasheed a sophomore at Brooke Point High School. Ordinarily, the two Stafford students might never meet.
But this year, Rasheed's physical education class mentored Kate's class. Four times, the high-schoolers came to work with the fourth-graders.
"Even though we're young ourselves, we're role models," said Brooke Point sophomore Shannon Barr. "It makes you think about what you're doing."
The teens started by crafting books for the younger students. The books revolved around themes such as bullying, accepting others, healthy eating and overcoming fears.
The first mentoring session, the high-schoolers read the books to the fourth-graders.
"We figured out to stay good sports, to eat right, stay in shape, so you can live good lives," said fourth-grader Garrett Heider.
Shannon's book told the students that it's OK to be different. And the message resounded because of the teen's blue hair, something that immediately caught the youngsters' eyes.
"They really gawked at my hair," Shannon said.
But even more than the lesson, the teens' visits gave the elementary students a boost in self esteem, said Falmouth PE teacher Dennis Emerson.
"They brought out confidence in my students," Emerson said.
After a while, the program moved toward physical education. Last week, the two classes met for the fourth and final time.
The Brooke Point students set up stations reminiscent of their old days in elementary school gym classes.
During the session, the gym got noisy. The rustle of the nylon parachutes competed with the click-click-clack of plastic bowling pins hitting the floor. The smack-smack-smack of the basketball fell into rhythm with the slap-slap-slap of a jump rope.
But above all, the laughs and squeals of the students dominated the gym.
Brooke Point PE teacher Jill Van Hook thought of the mentoring project.
And this year was the perfect year to start such an initiative.
Brooke Point is just across a field from Stafford Middle School.
Falmouth Elementary students and staff have spent the past school year at Stafford Middle while their own school in southern Stafford is renovated.
This fall, Falmouth students will return to their school, and students from Stafford Elementary School will then study at Stafford Middle during renovations to that school.
So Van Hook hopes to continue the program next year with students from Stafford Elementary.
"It's really convenient. We can just walk over here," she said.
Garrett thinks the program should continue and that it would help other fourth-graders.
"It's a bigger learning experience," he said. "They teach us cool things."
Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973