Big Brothers Big Sisters: e-Mail buddies meet for the first time 5.7.07

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When eight Morenci Area High School seniors walked onto a school bus Thursday morning to greet a group of younger students, it was a meeting of old friends.

Except there was that one odd twist—they had never before laid eyes on one  another.

This was the meeting of the Bigs and the Littles—a group of high school volunteers and their pen pals from elementary school.big.little

The two parties had been corresponding by e-mail since late October; now it was finally time to get together for a picnic at Wakefield Park.

Five students from Adrian’s Michener Elementary School signed up for the e-Mail Buddy program through the Lenawee County Big Brother-Big Sister organization, along with six from Sand Creek.

Program coordinator Bob Dister could sense the anticipation among the youngsters as the high school students entered the bus.

One by one, a name was called and a hand shot up in recognition. Seating was soon rearranged so the Bigs and the Littles could sit together for the trip to the park.

Before the short journey ended, Dister could hear conversations developing as the two groups updated one another on their lives.

At the park, it was nothing but fun, lunch and more fun as the two groups mixed on the playground equipment.

Sixth year

The current school year marks the sixth season for the successful e-Mail Buddy program.

Throughout the school year, the younger students typically wrote a letter on a Tuesday and sent it on to their older correspondent. The high school student wrote a response which was printed and given to the younger person on Friday.

“The correspondence is all supervised,” Dister said. “Every e-mail is read in our office.”

It’s more than just a social program for the third grade students, he said. At the start of the program, students wrote their letters on paper and handed them in for their teacher to type. Before too long, the students were learning to type their own letters on a computer.

The program addresses general language arts skills, too, as sentence structure and grammar improves through the year.

There’s a little geography thrown into the mix when a Big tells a Little about a trip to Florida or a sports competition in Detroit.

This was the first year in the program for Sand Creek teacher Kathie Norton-McCallister and Dister knows it translated into extra work for her. It also produced some positive results.

“My students enjoyed having a connection with these older students,” she said. “They were able to hear about their activities as high schoolers and the plans they have for after graduation.”

There’s also an early link made between Sand Creek and Morenci—the traditional rivals on the athletic field.

“I feel that making connections between area school districts is important to our community,” she said.

Dister hopes she elects to participate again next year and he would like to see her entire class join in rather than just half a dozen students.

If that happens, next year’s picnic could become a gala event.

• Participating in the program from Morenci were National Honor Society students Tiffany Wilson, Nick Vehemier, Riley Miller, Ryan Lucas, Zac Johnson, Maddie Green, Sarah Garwood and Dominique Cox. Kaliegh Robichaud and Adriane Bernotas of Sand Creek also participated.

    – May 9, 2007 

 

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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