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The Suburbanite
  • Student collaboration ends on high note

  • Since the beginning of the school year, members of the Green High School freshman football team have been acting as mentors to three classes of students with special needs at Green Intermediate School.

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  • Since the beginning of the school year, members of the Green High School freshman football team have been acting as mentors to three classes of students with special needs at Green Intermediate School.
    Participating students wrapped up the program recently with bowling at Turkeyfoot Lanes, lunch at Cici’s Pizza on Arlington and caroling at Green’s Central Administration Building.
    Having the football players work with the students was the idea of first-year teacher Joe Anderson.
    “I wanted to do something to help our students with special needs and got the freshmen football players involved in it,” Anderson said.
    High school principal Cindy Brown and intermediate principal Mark Booth supported the idea.
    “The players would come down on Friday afternoons after the high school let out and work with our students for about 45 minutes until it was time to dismiss our students to go home,” Anderson said. “They were responsible for making up on their own time the training and weight lifting they missed by coming down.”
    During the program, the mentors helped students build a model car, write poems and set up a Halloween party.
    Football player Clay Wodicka said it was a rewarding experience.
    “It is awesome to work with the kids,” Wodicka said. “It’s a lot of fun ... We bought them Christmas presents. My favorite thing was building the model cars with them. We try to help motivate them. We give up part of our time working out on Friday to come down here, but we make up the work when we return to the high school.”
    Amir Joya agreed.
    “I love doing this with the kids,” Joya said. “Spending time with the kids helps me to improve myself. I enjoy helping them out and teaching them what is wrong and right.”
    Jacob Sanner said the program was a lesson in give-and-take.
    “Spending time with them, you learn stuff from them and they learn stuff from you,” Sanner said. “It helps them make good choices.”
    Sixth grader Michael Welkir said he had fun working with the football players.
    “They helped us with our subjects and building the model (cars),” Welkir said. “The nicest thing is that they do stuff with us.”
    Morgan Smoot, a 5th grader said the program created a bond with the players.
    “I can talk with them about stuff, it is like bonding,” Smoot said. “We made pictures and good luck cards and went on field trips with them.”
    As part of the program all the students received T-shirts from the football players that had “Bulldogs” on the front and “Little Bulldogs” on the back.
    “The students really liked those shirts,” Anderson said. “They like to wear them all the time.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Teacher Jonette McMasters thought of the idea for the students to go caroling.
    “We used the caroling to help with things we teach,” McMasters said. “This included language arts, rhyming, social skills, and memorization. It really helped out.”
    The students serenaded the main office of the school administration with several carols. When the group was done a few students then sang a few more carols before the students returned to the lobby for cookies, candy canes and photographs. Then they all loaded back onto the bus for the trip back to school with great memories of a day spent with their high school mentors.
    Anderson the whole experience was a lot of fun.
    “It has turned out much better then I thought it would,” he said. “I am just glad we were able to do this. Watching the way our kids relate to the high school students is really neat. And the football players really get into helping the kids out. It has just been a great experience for everyone involved.”

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