Palmer Elementary 2nd grader Sammy Hill had a cookie in her left hand, her right arm around high school senior Kendyl Gorick and a big smile on her face. Why?
“Because she’s my best friend,” said Hill.
Hill was one of a number of students at Palmer Elementary saying goodbye to a group who have played a big role in their social and academic lives at school this year, high school mentors who have made weekly trips to Palmer to offer support and advice.
“I liked helping him with math and reading, and playing with legos,” said Miah Segrue, who served as a mentor to 3rd grader Zachary Dwyer.
“We did math,” said Dwyer. “She buys me candy. She’s the best.”
“I like helping the kids and giving them someone to talk to,” said Segrue.
The program has just finished its 10th year. There are even some mentors who used to be mentees.
“It’s nice to see the mentors who used to be mentees. They have a great understanding of the program,” said teacher Maria Van De Weert.
And it’s a program that seems to benefit the mentors as well as the mentees.
“I definitely learn leadership skills. We’re new leaders for our younger peers. We help them with skills they struggle with and it helps us learn what we can do to help people,” said high school senior Patrick Root.
“They’re really good. They’re really nice and they help you with subjects you need help in,” said 5th grader Thomas Hoyt.