The Piedmont Highlander

The Student News Site of Piedmont High School

The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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High schoolers mentor young students during stay-at-home

High schoolers mentor young students during stay-at-home


In the living room, Mom is on a Zoom work call. In the master bedroom, Dad talks to one of his colleagues on the phone. Older brother is in his own room on a Google Hangout for English, and older sister is doing the same for biology in the basement. Finally, a twitchy eight year old sits, his entire family on their own respective online meetings. But he is not an exception. He sits in his room, staring into the computer screen, engaged by the high schooler teaching him his multiplication tables.

ASB created a student mentor program at the start of the shelter-in-place order to make sure that young students are keeping up with their studies, senior and ASB president Jace Porter said. The program pairs 77 volunteer Piedmont and Millennium high school students with elementary school students.

“The goal is to help the kids now that it is harder for them to get one-on-one help with a teacher,” Porter said. “And we also want to keep them distracted instead of going stir-crazy.”

The tutoring can be for educational purposes, but it can also be storybook reading or coloring to help the kids stay entertained and occupied, Porter said.

“The ASB class brainstormed different ways we could maintain school/community involvement during this tough time,” said technical coordinator and junior Bella Kjellen. “[Junior] Audrey Edel first introduced the idea as a virtual community where we create a buddy system with high school and elementary school students to do crafts and just hang out with them online.”

Kjellen said that they added the tutoring portion to the original concept in hopes of broadening interest among both high school and elementary students.

“Audrey, [junior] Grace Davies, and I started working on ways to reflect in-person tutoring and activities to an online setting,” Kjellen said.

Porter said that the program has already started, with some of the high school and elementary pairs starting their weekly meetings.

“I’m currently working with four kids, and I love meeting with them every week,” Kjellen said.

While the program is now up and running, Kjellen said that communicating online with all of the different parties involved was difficult at times.

“Admin, teachers and parent reps from all elementary school and the high school, as well as all the high school volunteers, have all been essential in this program together,” Kjellen said. “It’s much more difficult to communicate online through email and calling than in person, so this created some setback during the planning process.”

Junior Jackie Remick said that she has enjoyed her time participating in the program.

“I heard about the program through Grace,” Remick said. “I decided to do it because I love kids, and quarantine has made me miss spending time with them since I can’t babysit anymore.”

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