Friday, November 21, 2008

Fayette County Tiger Pals Help Younger Counterparts

Bee Leader Jada Thompson shakes hands with Tiger Pal Melodie Goodridge while Hood Avenue Assistant Principal Marilyn Teet pins a leadership button on fellow Bee Leader Carter Wickham. Looking on are from left Fayette County High Principal Charles Warr, Tiger Pal Major Smith and Hood Avenue Principal Kiawana Kennedy.

Tigers and honeybees make great pals or at least that is the case for Fayette County High and Hood Avenue Primary.

For the first time this year, the Tiger Pals program at the high school partnered with the Hood Avenue Honeybees to provide mentoring and tutoring once a week for all grade levels. The Tiger Pals had formerly mentored students at East Fayette Elementary for eight years.

The program is part of the high school’s Communications for Business class taught by Susanne Ford. This semester there are 27 students participating in the program and serving as mentors to students at Hood. They walk over to the primary school every Friday morning to work with the younger students who need extra academic help or maybe just a friend to talk and listen to them.

“I’m very humbled to be able to work with these students. They actually listen to me and do what I say. They look up to us because we’re high school students. It is just amazing to watch their progress over time,” says Tiger Pal Jalil Hicks.

The Pals started a new program at Hood Avenue this year called Bee Leaders. Two second graders from each class who showed signs of leadership were selected to participate in the pilot program. Since the start of school, the group of second graders has been receiving leadership instruction from Pal members Major Smith and Melodie Goodridge in conjunction with Hood Avenue’s guidance counselors Jerie McLain and Sherry Lemarr.

“I have really enjoyed it. It has been a pleasure to come in every Friday and talk to the kids. It’s been really fun, maybe more fun for me than them,” says Major.

Hood Avenue recently had a pinning ceremony for their new Bee Leaders with the Tiger Pals in attendance. Each leader, 16 total, received a pin and certificate. Now the leaders will be assigned various duties around the school including assisting in the office, monitoring and mentoring fellow students and raising and taking down the American flag.

“You are the first Bee Leaders and you need to take that very seriously,” McLain told the students. “We are the only elementary school that I know that has a leadership program for second graders.”

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