By: Michael Wang <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When sophomore Hillary Anderson was in Carolyn Hayes’ fifth-grade class, she was assigned to research polio for her disease project. Six years later, Anderson is again assigned to research a disease for Hayes’ fifth-grade class, this time not as a student but rather as a mentor.
Anderson is involved in the Research Mentor Club. Hayes, sponsor of the Research Mentor Club and fifth-grade teacher, said, “Anybody can be a part of it, but once (high school students) commit to coming, they have to come with the written work. They don’t have to do a research paper, but they are all required to come with 10 key words.”
Anderson said, “You just had to have the standard application and parent signature. The application only asks you for your name, grade, home phone number, SRT teacher (and) commencement of the Research Mentor Club.”
According to Anderson, the purpose of the club is for students here to help Carmel Elementary fifth- graders on their disease research papers.
“They are supposed to come to us if (the fifth- graders) have a question and they do not know how to answer (it),” Anderson said. “If they have a question, (high school students) are supposed to go out there and research it and bring the information back and tell them how it happens. We will help them check their facts and edit their papers. We also will help them on their presentations because they are supposed to put together a Powerpoint for it.”
Hayes said the high school students help the fifth-graders by reading through their drafts. “They make sure that the fifth-grader has included all the important words, that he knows how to pronounce them, that he is not plagiarizing, that he is writing and putting the ideas in their words. So they are really editing and enhancing,” she said.
The purpose of the Children Mentoring Program, according to Hayes, is not only to assist fifth-graders in their research papers but also to provide for students who are interested in what they are researching a way for them to add to their research every year.
“The idea was that some day I was able to do something where the kids that really were interested in whatever they were doing could have a way to add to their research,” she said. “And instead of our typical looking back, it would be a way for kids to think of everything that has happened in the last seven years, choose a disease and think of everything that has happened and all the developments.”
Hayes added that the other part of the goal of the program is for high school students to be introduced to some experts, from an emergency room doctor to the director of Project Development at SePRO, an aquatics and ornamental horticulture company.
The program plans to reach the objective of assisting fifth-graders, according to Anderson, by meeting periodically.
She said, “We are going to meet on Gold Fridays during SRT (with the fifth graders) between March 7 and March 28. The high school students are required to gain information on the disease in order to help the fifth grade students.”
As for how this program actually reaches out to the younger students and benefit them, Hayes said, “I think kids are going to have a chance to work one on one with high school kids who are way down the road in doing research. They are way down the road as far as helping make sure the kids understand the importance of a bibliography or your works cited page.”
Hayes said, “I hope it never goes away. I hope it is launched in such an easy to reproduce way. I really hope that it is done in way that it really could be something that we do each year.”