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NHS students tutor Mission students for volunteer hours

Senior+Trinity+Torres+and+eighth+grader+Jordan+Jacobs+play+a+friendly+game+of+chess+to+get+to+know+each+other+better.
Senior Trinity Torres and eighth grader Jordan Jacobs play a friendly game of chess to get to know each other better.

Senior Trinity Torres and eighth grader Jordan Jacobs play a friendly game of chess to get to know each other better.

Emily Schmidt

Emily Schmidt

Senior Trinity Torres and eighth grader Jordan Jacobs play a friendly game of chess to get to know each other better.

Emily Schmidt, Reporter

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A conglomeration of high school and middle school students sit in a wonky circle around a “vintage” deck of UNO cards. As peals of laughter ring out, both groups seem to relax as they get to know the people they’ll spend Tuesdays with for the rest of the year just a little better.

The juniors, seniors, and seventh graders were brought together for a tutoring program at Mission Middle School. The program began last year as the CBL project of seniors Kaitlyn Little and Lexy Lopez.

Before English teacher Megan Brewer lets her students pick their project topic, she has them put all of their ideas (including interests, hobbies, passions, and problems they see in the world) on the board and has them identify with which ones they are interested in, so they pick their groups based on what they care about rather than the people they know.

“This group started with poverty–that was sort of their big idea and we scaled it down to in our community–who do we want to help and who can we help immediately?” Brewer said. “So they thought about young children who need basic essentials and what can we do to give them a normal standard of living.”

Along with starting the tutoring program, Lopez and Little also facilitated a clothing drive to collect clothes for the Brave Boutique, a space where Mission provides clothes to kids who need them. Little came up with a plan when she had a conversation with Mission counselor Carli Rhylander, who was close to Little when she worked at West.

“She was telling me about the situations that the kids go through over there and that was right around when we were supposed to think of ideas for CBL, so it was kind of just a natural idea,” Little said.

Lopez and Little had an incredible experience with the eighth graders last year and saw such an interest from others that they wanted to keep the project going. Because Lopez is the NHS president, they were able to make it a volunteer hour opportunity with relative ease.  

“I joined NHS this year and this was an opportunity to get volunteer hours and I thought it really related to me because I know that I really like helping other people enjoy school as much as I do,” junior Chamberlyn Bridge said.

Along with the other volunteers, Lopez and Little go to Mission after their seventh hour classes every Tuesday to mentor seventh graders as well as help them with their schoolwork.

“You just buddy up with a student and help with whatever they’re struggling in at that time, so we try to make sure your grades are subpar,” Lopez said.

The mentors are paired up with their mentees by Rhylander through similar personalities and interests. She said it was easy this year and last because she knows the personalities of the high school students, so it might get a little more difficult once the seniors leave.

Rhylander acknowledged both Dean Gary Graner and Principal Kevin Rohlfs are a big help in getting the students released and getting the program approved. Lopez and Little both said the relationships they build with the middle school students is what makes the program worth all the work they’ve put into it.

“I like that we can work with them and we grow more of a bond other than a teacher and student thing,” Lopez said. “It’s more of like a little brother, big sister type thing.”

This article has been updated.  In a previous version of this article, Trinity Torres was incorrectly identified as a junior.  She is a senior.

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The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School
NHS students tutor Mission students for volunteer hours