Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trinity Elementary students get Book Buddies from Mitchell High

Logan Isenhart was looking pretty comfortable — a natural, in fact, as she cheerily meandered through the kindergarten classroom offering praise, encouragement and tips on how to spell one word or another.

Logan's task that day was to help the kindergarteners learn the importance of spreading joy to others by creating colorful holiday cards to be delivered to military veterans and troops serving overseas.

"I love being here," Logan said. "It's so enjoyable, and any time I get to work with kids it's such a good experience."

That's the point behind the newly formed Book Buddies program, an effort that matches Mitchell High students with primary students at nearby Trinity Elementary.

Logan, 18, is one of 10 students enrolled in a leadership skills and exploratory teaching class at Mitchell.

The class is geared toward high school students who might want to go into the field of education, said Mitchell teacher Stephanie Bombei. The class is also beneficial for students like Logan, who hopes to become a pediatric nurse.

The Book Buddies program came about this year after Bombei's students held a brainstorming session to come up with ways they could participate in a service learning activity.

Bombei contacted Trinity Elementary principal Kathryn Rushe, who realized the benefits these visits could bring and was quick to jump on board.

"This is fantastic," said Rushe, who paid a visit to the kindergarten classroom while students were working on their holiday cards. "They really work well together. The kids remember them from their last visit and look forward to them coming. They have a really good time. They enjoy it and, who knows — they might turn out some new educators."

Once a month, Mitchell students will continue to make the trek to the elementary school to oversee activities with four classrooms of students in kindergarten through second grade. Last week's lesson started out with the older students reading holiday books. Then the crayons and markers came out so students could decorate the cards to be distributed through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

"It's really wonderful," said kindergarten teacher Nikki Lijewski. "They really work well together."

"I love it. I love spreading joy through the kids," said Steven Swendsen, 17, as he sat at a low table helping 5-year-olds Alexander Jeffries, Elena Ta and Jiatao Zhang with their notes. Steven, who will graduate in May, hopes to be accepted into the Coast Guard Academy, but he hasn't ruled out teaching.

"I'm thinking I might teach JROTC after I get out" of the Coast Guard, he said.

The kindergarten students finished off their activity by gathering on the floor in the classroom reading spot with Logan to sing verses of Frosty the Snowman.

Then it was time to say goodbye, and of course, exchange hugs.

"I'll be back next time and I'll spend time with you," Steven told Alexander, who like many of the youngsters, was reluctant to see the older students depart.

"I miss Logan already," said a pouting Olivia Duquette, 5, as she lined up with the rest of her classmates to go to lunch in the cafeteria. "I love her."

Trinity Elementary students get Book Buddies from Mitchell High 12/07/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 4:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"

    Blogs

    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. FWC: Fish away for invasive lionfish

    Water

    Times staff

    What could be better than fishing and helping save the Gulf of Mexico?

    Add prizes.

    Lionfish, originally from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'

    Blogs

    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. Nine years later, library attack victim Queena works at learning to walk again

    News

    Slowly, Queena Phu is learning the act of walking again through exercises in locomotion, strength and balance.

    Queena Phu of Tampa and prosecutor Rita Peters arrive at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center on Monday.
 Phu, 27, has endured a long road to recovery after suffering brain damage from a brutal attack that left her unable to walk, talk, see or eat on her own. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]