The Greenfield Exempted Village School District has just wrapped up its inaugural and successful Lunch Buddies program.
The reading- and education-centered program ran all of June and July on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each of those days there was an average of 87 elementary students present, along with high school volunteers and staff members. The preschool through fifth graders were able to read, play learning games on the Chromebooks, and work on projects alongside high school mentors.
The program was held each day prior to the free summer lunch program so students that attended were also able to receive lunch. Two buses provided transportation throughout the duration of the program. Each Thursday, students were able to take books home with them, which were provided by Altrusa of Highland County.
On Aug. 1, the last day of the program, some students won prizes like board games, while two grand prize winners each won a bike. The kids were also treated to ice cream provided by Shine Orthodontics.
“Our district believes literacy is one of the most important factors in educating college- and career-ready students,” Alisa Barrett, director of instruction for the district, said. “The goal of Lunch Buddies was to build literacy and encourage the love of reading in our youngest students through mentoring from McClain High School students.”
The program, she said, “would not have been possible without the dedication of high school volunteers and elementary teachers who gave many hours to read with students throughout their summer break.”
There were 33 high school volunteers: Abby Atkinson, Alex Snyder, Alyson Murphy, Arianna Cole, Audrey Tharp, Aurora Thompson, Brianna Weller, Bryn Karnes, Carter Campbell, Chance Lane, Christopher Casterline, Cierra Bolender, Dakota Bland, Destiny Mick, Emily Grate, Emily Jones, Emma Stegbauer, Griffin Foltz, Haley Peterman, Hayden Breakfield, Heather Parker, Isaiah Eleyet, Jase Allison, Justin Hall, Kaleigh Easter, Katie Graham, Mackenzie Shrout, Natalie Rolfe, Noah Reeves, Richie Lester, Sarah Free, Sarah Snyder and Wesley Potts.
Thirty staff members also volunteered throughout the program. They were: Ali Vesey, Amie Gallaugher, Becky Anderson, Bobbie Hurtt, Bob Schumm, Brooke Miller, Christy Wagner, Debbie Flowers, Gemma Smith, Heidi Tite, Janell Allison, Janet Gaddis, Jason Potts, Jayme Weller, Jean Little, Jeana McNeal, Julia Bateman, Julie Shonkwiler, Lynda Cottrill, Lynette McCray, Mackenzie Henson, Mallorey Bethel, Marci Reeves, Matt Shelton, Megan Cheesebrew, Quincey Gray, Samy Rowe, Suanne Edwards, Tia Barham and Vanessa Penwell.
Bus drivers Candance Cassidy, Susan Rayburn, Randilia Clay, T.K. Sexton, Dawn Stapleton, Craig Wise and Bradley George helped transport students to and from the program.
The school district extending a special thanks to Transportation Supervisor Bradley George for organizing and providing bus transportation for students that needed it; teachers Jeana McNeal, Vanessa Penwell and Christy Wagner for planning, organizing and overseeing the program; former Superintendent Ron Sexton; Community Action of Highland County for providing free lunch for all students each week; Altrusa of Highland County; and Shine Orthodontics of Chillicothe.
The district plans to continue the program next summer.
“I am so proud of how district team members worked together to successfully implement the Lunch Buddies program this summer,” Superintendent Quincey Gray said. “It was wonderful to be able to continue to build literacy knowledge and a love of reading in our students during the summer months. I appreciate the work of our director of instruction, Alisa Barrett, as she coordinated the efforts of our staff members and high school students in order to ensure the success of the program.”
Angela Shepherd works for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.