12.16.2019 - 1:48 PM - Lauren Lallemont

Last year, PSD School Counselor Jackie Franzoi decided to start a program with K-12 students called "Buccaneer Buddies." In this program, high school students are selected to become mentors for elementary and occasionally middle school students. Once the mentors are selected, they are paired up with "mentees" and they set up a time that works for both the mentor and the mentee to meet each week for about a half hour. During their time together, they can work on any homework that the mentee is struggling with, or the pair can find a place in the school to relax, chat, or play games.

High school students who are selected to become mentors in the program are typically juniors and seniors. Franzoi selects the students and aims for mentors who maintain a good academic standing, have an interest in working with kids, and are known to be responsible. Brook Mabie, a senior who was selected to become a mentor, explains, "I think that this is a great way for the high schoolers and elementary students to interact with each other. It is great that the elementary students will have someone to look up to.”  Also, prospective mentors wrote a paragraph about themselves with some basic biographical information. When the mentors and mentees met for the first time, a picture was taken and sent with the biographical paragraph home to parents.

In order to determine which of the elementary students are picked, Franzoi sends out a letter to all the elementary teachers at the beginning of the year. The teachers have about a month to get back to Franzoi with a list of students they think would be suited best for the program. “Students that are picked are able to receive help with school related things while getting to make a new high school friend,” Franzoi stated. Elementary students really enjoy having their Buccaneer Buddies around. The Buccaneer Buddies Program goes on all year and includes many activities. “We do lots of things together. We walked around for awhile, and we went into the library. We colored, did a puzzle, and we played a couple other games together. We have lots of fun together,” Kaden Hartmann, a junior, noted.

For future years, Franzoi intends on keeping Buccaneer Buddies as a fun program for everyone. “I really would love to see it grow into something more as well,” Franzoi explains.