Wootton Students Mentor Fallsmead First Graders
When they are not playing basketball or performing at games, students from the Thomas S. Wootton High School basketball team and the poms squad volunteer their time at Fallsmead Elementary School.
Basketball coach Erick Graves started the Wootton Cares reading and mentoring program seven years ago to give his players a way to give back to their community.
“I think our [students] get a lot out of it,” Graves said. “They get to see the power of their presence, and how the power of a simple high-five could change a kid’s day.”
The student-athletes visit the elementary school on Fridays after school to tutor first grade students in reading and other subjects.
“We definitely build relationships over time,” said Karli, a member of the poms squad. “We have been coming for quite a few weeks so we know each other’s names, we know each other’s families and some fun stories about each other. Every time we walk in, you can see their faces light up.”
“They are kind of like big brothers and sisters,” said one of the elementary school students.
The high schoolers say they love being role models and the opportunity to give back to the younger students.
“I went here 11 years ago and I was in their shoes,” said Peter, a Wootton basketball player. “It just feels really good to be able to give back and come back to a place where I went and kind of shaped me into who I am and try to do that for the next generation of kids.”