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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow STUDENTS REACH OUT AS TUTORS


REACHING OUT: Kristina Derry, a student in La Grande High Schools alternative school, reads to Central Elementary School first-grader Kennie Mills, left, and kindergartner Emmitt Ambert. (The Observer/DICK MASON).
REACHING OUT: Kristina Derry, a student in La Grande High Schools alternative school, reads to Central Elementary School first-grader Kennie Mills, left, and kindergartner Emmitt Ambert. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Freshman Nigel Hull may have found his calling.

Hull is one of 20 La Grande High School alternative school students who have been tutoring children at Willow and Central elementary schools over the past two months. The children are those who attend the after-school homework club/enrichment programs at the schools.

The alternative school students have been tutoring the children since early January. They conducted their last session Tuesday, but this will not stop Hull. He plans to come back to Central after school on Wednesdays to continue working as a tutoring volunteer.

I liked it so much that I will go back, he said.

Junior Kristina Derry also said she enjoyed working with children. Derry said, however, that if she goes into teaching she would prefer working with older students.

They (the grade school children) were a little too wild for me, she said.

The alternative school students have spent most of their time reading books with children and helping them with math and homework.

This has taught me how to relate to kids, said freshman Jason Rauli.

Sophomore Josh Stone said that he enjoyed the experience because of the big brother role he played.

Some alternative school students worked with the same child at each session. This included Kaela Ludviksen, who read with sixth-grader Crystal Horst each time.

Im going to miss not seeing her, Ludviksen said.

Connie Long, who helps supervise the after-school homework club at Central as a

substitute, said the children were delighted to have the alternative school students with them.

They look up to the older kids, said Long, who is a kindergarten education assistant at Island City Elementary School.

LHS alternative school teacher Lin Casciato said his students discovered that teaching takes a firm commitment.

They found that it is intense, Casciato said.

He is pleased with how the students responded.

They were ready to teach when they came. They did a good job of fulfilling their responsibility, Casciato said.

This was the third community service project the alternative school students have done this school year. Earlier they conducted a food drive for the Union County Salvation Army and shoveled snow for senior citizens.

The service projects proved to be a valuable teaching tool because it showed the students what it is like to reach out to both old and young people, Casciato said.

They learned about empathy and helping to make a difference, he said.

He added that the community service work also taught his students that they have value as teen-agers.

They learned that they do have something to contribute to the community, Casciato said.

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