By dedicating one day to help others, a group of First Colonial High School Legal Studies Academy (LSA) students are hoping to make a big difference in the academic achievement of children at Williams Elementary School. More than 500 elementary students and 30 high school students participated in the fourth-annual Day of Caring event Friday, May 4.
The LSA students led the mentoring and tutoring event as a way to help the fourth- and fifth-grade students prepare for their upcoming state Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.
“It’s an opportunity for the First Colonial LSA students to come provide our students with SOL review activities, books and school supplies,” said Tim Sullivan, principal of Williams Elementary School. “My students love it.”
First Colonial spent the year preparing for this event by collecting books and supplies to allow each student to take home one book and to fill backpacks for each of the 31 teachers at Williams to take back to their classrooms.
“We would not have been able to provide the take-home books or school supply backpacks without the numerous donations given,” said Melissa Disher, Day of Caring coordinator. “Countless students were involved in the preparations of this event.”
The Day of Caring featured multiple one-hour rotations of study activities that focused mainly on science and math.
“The one hour flies by,” said Sullivan. “The LSA kids run the show. They set up all the rotations, teach all the lessons, and my kids fall in love with them.”
But, Williams students are not the only ones learning.
“My high school students reported back they learned so much more from the students at Bettie F. Williams,” said Disher. “They learned a different approach, they learned a different story, they learned a little something about themselves, and they learned they made a friend.”
Caleb Knox, a sophomore volunteer, said his favorite part of the day was watching the transformation each child made throughout the day.
“They would first walk in shy, but by the end of the day we were having profound debates on the greatest basketball player of all time and holding elaborate reenactments of our favorite dances – all while preparing for their SOL,” said Knox. “I think I learned more from these kids than they did from me.”