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 

 

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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