Who’s Your Buddy? Program linking seniors and kindergarten students making Waves at North Delta School

Published 3:54 am Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A mentorship program between seniors and kindergarten students at North Delta School – one age group leaving campus and the other arriving – has taken off at the college preparatory school this academic year.

It’s hard to tell who has benefitted the most – the Green Wave seniors or the youngsters who all have new friends in the high school. 

For the seniors, the program is designed to promote responsibility and accountability. For the kindergarteners, it’s all about having a big person buddy, one that spends time with them playing, learning, and leading.

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The Senior Buddy program is the brainchild of K5 teacher Lauren Lee, herself new to North Delta School. This inaugural program included 32 seniors and 28 kindergartners.

“I wanted to start something unique here, and set us apart from other schools in this area,” Lee said. “Our goal is to provide a sense of morale, responsibility, and the opportunity to improve the family feeling here.”

Lee’s own son was part of a Senior Buddy program at another school, prompting her to start the same in Batesville.

The response was overwhelming Lee said.

“We have planned multiple activities for them to enjoy. We went to a Senior Buddy picnic out at Sardis, Veterans Day program, multiple crafts, multiple reading sessions, and our big holiday party coming up that will end the 2023 year,” she said.

“To finish out the year we will plan other big activities, and then finally, graduation,” Lee said.

Comments of praise from parents, seniors, and kindergartens have been widespread.

Kim Young, mother to senior Emma Nichopoulos, said the program has prompted the seniors to be more cognizant of their behaviors while they have little eyes watching. 

Shonnah Weaver said for her son, senior Brayden Weaver, being able to create something special with his little buddy are big memories they both will cherish.

K5 mother and senior mother, Ashley Douglas, said the sentimental value behind the program makes her grateful for the activities that both her children are able to enjoy together. 

Another K5 parent, Savannah Calvert, was impressed with how the seniors have carried themselves and their behaviors knowing they have little eyes on them. 

“When I asked the seniors for some sentiments about how they feel about the program, it truly warmed my heart and I knew that our seniors were going to be very responsible adults with compassion, and leading with a Christian mindset forward,” Lee recalls. 

Senior Reid Ales said he is grateful to have a buddy because it felt like he had a little brother of his own.

Kallie Daniel said the unique program and the impact on her student life is an aspect of her high school days that she will always remember.

Football team captain Luke West is thankful for the memories he’s making with buddy Eli Cotton.

“When we were starting the program I took into consideration sports and extracurricular activities that these students have. The seniors have shown great time management, and enthusiasm when their buddies come to cheer them on,” Lee said. “The coaches here at North Delta have been super supportive to the program as well, allowing their buddies to sit on the sideline and cheer them on.”

Seniors Jolie Avery and Emily Wells agree that the bonds they have built with their little friends are unbreakable 

And the feeling is mutual. One K5 student, Liam Morgan, said he has the coolest dudes for my buddies, referring to Matt Johnson and Holt Herron.

I have been very blessed to get to know these families and be accepted down here at North Delta. I can’t wait to make more and more memories. 

Nikki Mills,  the new elementary school principal said she is excited for the coming years, and the opportunity to  watch the students show their academic progress to their senior buddies, such as, reading fluently.

Lee said the program will continue in the next academic year. “It has been such a great deal to me to be accepted so lovingly by this school and for the staff to take on my new ideas. We can’t wait to see what next year looks like.”