AMS Peer Helpers make wear many hatsPublished 12:24am Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Andalusia Middle School teacher Candy Parker spends second period each day with a unique group of students.
“That group is putting together new student packets,” she said Tuesday, pointing a to several students with their desks pulled together. “Those guys are sharpening pencils and we have another group in another classroom helping to make snacks.”
Parker oversees AMS’ Peer Helpers, a group of students who applied for and were chosen to be part of a team that helps other students with everything from buying items at the school store to learning how to operate the locking mechanisms on their lockers.
“The most important thing they do is tutor,” Parker said of students in the second-year program. “We started this last year. My son was in the program at the high school and I thought it was a great idea.”
Parker said the new program has taken off at AMS and seems poised for even more growth.
“Last year we had 20 students,” she said. “This year we had 50 to apply and we ended up with 31 students.”
And the students Parker chose for the program seem to understand what it is all about.
“I just like to help people,” eighth-grader Callen Woodard said. “I like all (of the program). It’s all fun.”
Parker said, while the Peer Helpers are tasked with a great deal of responsibility, students don’t have to make perfect grades to be a part of the group.
“We look for kids who do well, but we also look for kids who have struggled and overcome that,” Parker said. “They really understand what it’s like for students who are struggling.”
Peer Helpers are comprised of AMS students in seventh and eighth grades and help students in all grades in a variety of areas.