Ju­nior high stu­dents help oth­ers ‘Get the Story’

The Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

Have you ever dreamed of go­ing on your own spe­cial ad­ven­ture? Maybe you wanted to set sail in search of buried trea­sure or get rescued from a dun­geon by a hand­some prince. For stu­dents at Over­look Ele­men­tary School, their dreams of ad­ven­ture are about to come true thanks to stu­dents at Abing­ton Ju­nior High School.

Ju­nior high stu­dents met with Over­look stu­dents Dec. 14 for a spe­cial “Get the Story” gath­er­ing.

A tra­di­tion that spans 10 years, “Get the Story” is a pro­gram where stu­dents from Abing­ton ju­nior or se­nior high schools are paired with an ele­men­tary stu­dent to learn more about them so they can write a story star­ing their new lit­tle friend.

“The point of this gath­er­ing is so the younger stu­dents can model peo­ple close to their age who share a love of read­ing,” said Over­look read­ing spe­cial­ist Marie Reynolds. “We just don’t want stu­dents to read, but [want them] to love it.”

This year 70 ju­nior high stu­dents from the honor’s so­ci­ety and 68 Over­look stu­dents were in­volved in the ini­tia­tive. Dur­ing their time to­gether, the stu­dents share in­ter­ests, dis­cuss books, color and en­joy get­ting to know each other. In ad­di­tion, the older stu­dents come pre­pared with a list of ques­tions to in­ter­view their buddy.

The ques­tions range from “What’s your fa­vorite color?” to “What do like to do at re­cess?” The in­for­ma­tion gath­ered from the visit is then in­cor­po­rated into the per­son­al­ized story writ­ten by the ju­nior high stu­dent.

Dur­ing the gath­er­ing, stu­dents could be seen read­ing on the car­pet and col­or­ing at the ta­bles.

Ninth-grader Ste­fanie Rath was paired with 5-year-old Noah who said he wanted to be a se­cret spy who has lots of gad­gets.

Lizzie O’Leary, an eighth-grader, said she learned a lot about her lit­tle buddy, 6-year-old Nate, whose fa­vorite sports are foot­ball and bas­ket­ball.

“In the story I think I’m go­ing to have Nate play­ing one of his fa­vorite sports,” O’Leary said. “But I’m still think­ing of ideas.”

Fel­low eight-graders Katie Tra­vor and Emma Se­ri­anni were paired up with 5-year-old Vi­o­lette who likes cats and play­ing hide-and-go-seek. Tra­vor said she might write a story where Vi­o­lette losses her cat and has to find her.

“I like be­ing paired up with the younger stu­dents,” she said. “It gives them a chance to know what it feels like to have an older sis­ter or brother if they don’t have one.”

“It’s just nice to get to get to know them,” added Se­ri­anni.

For some of the ju­nior high stu­dents, who were once kinder­garten­ers at Over­look, the gath­er­ing pro­vided them with a full-cir­cle ex­pe­ri­ence, and many were ex­cited to be back at their alma mater as men­tors.

“It’s sur­real to be back,” said eighth-grader Kris­ten Sparhawk. “I can’t be­lieve how long it’s been.”

“It’s so cool to come back and be a role model,” said ninth-grader Elizabeth Brown.

The gath­er­ing is spe­cial be­cause it shows kinder­garten­ers that read­ing is im­por­tant at ev­ery level, said Stephanie Gates a co-spon­sor of the ju­nior high honor’s so­ci­ety.

In Fe­bru­ary the ju­nior high stu­dents will re­turn to Over­look to read and present their kinder­garten bud­dies with their pub­lished sto­ries, which will also have il­lus­tra­tions and be bound like a real book, said Carla Per­chi fel­low co-spon­sor of the ju­nior high hon­ors so­ci­ety.

The stu­dents will also en­joy an ice cream sun­dae party, she said.

“My stu­dents get very ex­cited that some­one from the ju­nior high is coming to visit them,” said one of Over­look’s kinderg­warten teach­ers Natalie Sim­mons. “[Be­ing with the older stu­dents] gives them some­thing to as­pire too.”

Phillip Denels­beck watches Joseph Basker­bill se­lect toys from a box dur­ing the “Get the Story” pro­gram.

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