Heroes and Sidekicks bond at activity night

PEER MENTORS: Morley Stanwood students play foosball on Thursday. Since Heroes and Sidekicks started earlier this school year, 140 students have joined.

MORLEY – Fifth grader Anna Hershberger wanted to improve her grades, so she became a sidekick.

As part of the “Heroes and Sidekicks” mentoring program at Morley Stanwood Community Schools, Hershberger was matched with a high school student who would eat lunch with her, help her study and visit her classes.

Autumn Holliday, a ninth grader, became Hershberger’s hero two weeks ago, and the two have already formed a friendship.

“I thought it’d be fun to have someone to mentor,” Holliday said. “(Anna) is really open and fun to hang around. She’s a cool little kid, and she’s a really close friend now.”

ROLE MODELS: Heroes and Sidekicks pairs a middle school student with a high school student so the younger students can learn better study skills and be more prepared for the transition to high school.

An activity night for all heroes and sidekicks was held Thursday at the high school with a movie, dinner and games. The program started earlier this school year when several high school students came up with the idea. In the past few months, 140 middle and high school students have joined.

“It’s difficult to quantify how great this is,” said Kim Colby, the middle school principal. “The kids just beam when their heroes come.”

Colby said she has noticed academic, behavioral and social progress in her students who have been matched with heroes.

Superintendent Roger Cole also is pleased with how the program has turned out.

“There’s some neat stuff that teachers have noticed,” he said. “Students who were not actively participating in class are doing so now.”

Michael LaDow, a seventh grader, is still getting to know his hero, senior Robert Dean. The pair has met a few times during lunch.

“I wasn’t doing so good in my subjects,” LaDow said. “I told my principal about it, and she said, ‘I have the perfect match for you.’”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from the activity night.

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