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Big Kings Little Kings: Mentoring the Young

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Most people at Lewis Cass, LCHS, are aware of the program Big Kings/ Little Kings but don’t know what goes on within. The program was started last year by Mr. Smith, LCHS Assistant Principal, and Mr. LaPlante, Lewis Cass Elementary(LCE) Principle, as a way of mentoring elementary students. After hearing about Big Brothers/Big Sisters approaching Mr. LaPlante, Mr. Smith told Mr. LaPlante about an “in house” option that allows high school students on building relationships with elementary students. These relations can provide a good role model for elementary students without one at home.

Our program is a similar concept to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but we do not use adults, and we can conduct the mentoring during the school day,” said Mr. Smith.  “Mr. LaPlante and I brainstormed and brought in others for consultation. When it was all said and done, Mrs. Funk, Ms. Roller, Mrs. Houston, Mr. Bates, and many of the elementary teachers were involved in the process for creating the program.”  

Looking back on his own life, Mr. Smith took inspiration for this program through one of his own role models. As a kid one of his positive role models was Steve, his high school football team’s QB, who would often play ball with his siblings and him. He said that he thinks that one of the best ways for students to give back to the community is to spend time with the younger generation, who look up to them.  

Mr. Smith said, “We saw the need that children have for mentors in their lives who care and are consistent role models of positive behavior.  We also saw an opportunity with recent consolidation of the elementary schools that would allow for the opportunity to involve all of our students in a “community” type program.”

Students here at Lewis Cass to love helping out with the program. Layton Mygrant, a Junior at LCHS, said, “It (the Program) provides a new perspective on the kids over at LCE. I really love seeing the Little Kings every week. The program always allows me to give back to the community in a way that is fun and exciting. I always am happy to go over to the elementary and see my Little Kings as it allows me to get a break from the stresses of high school.”

Students in National Honors Society and Key Club participate in this club; however, If you are interested in participating in the next few years contact Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith said, “Big Kings/Little Kings is a joint effort of both buildings.  Our program takes the flexibility of the teachers, the willingness of the high school students, the organization of Mrs. Roller, the accountability of the high school and elementary school front office staff, the blessing of the parents, the supervision of Mr. LaPlante, Mr. Smith, Mr. Bates, and Mr. Nelson, and the support of Dr. Garland and the Board of Trustees for Lewis Cass Schools.”

The future of this program looks really bright.  “As the Littles (Little Kings) grow and mature it is awesome to see them grow from someone who might misbehave in class, from a lack of not knowing better, to someone who cares about school,” said Mygrant.

Our goal is to continue to expand our program.  Mr. Smith said,“We started last year with almost 50 elementary students being mentored. We want to be able to do things right and make sure our program is effective.  Ms. Roller, who recently “rolled on” from her position as a 2nd grade teacher, has graciously partnered with us. She had a program at the elementary for 17 years called Tender Loving Care.  This program was a mentor program that brought in adult volunteers to meet with students. Ms. Roller brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with working with elementary students, and she is excited for this new opportunity.
           One of the immediate goals is to secure funding for future events that could allow the students to attend events outside of the 30 minutes per week. At this point, the only expense that our program has is TIME, aside from the donated games and organizational supplies (thank you, Ms. Roller).
        Obviously, our ultimate goal is to provide positive role models for our elementary students that will help ‘prepare them for living today and life tomorrow’,” Said Mr. Smith

With the new program across the parking lot, students are able to give back to the community, serve as role models to younger students, and gain service hours in the process. Big Kings/Little Kings is a great way to serve your school and help the community at the same time.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Big Kings Little Kings: Mentoring the Young”

  1. Lanie Miller on September 14th, 2018 8:14 am

    Great story, Carl! It was nice to see how Mr. Smith came about wanting to do the Big Kings Little Kings program. I always thought that I wanted to do it, but I have such a busy schedule. Reading this makes me want to do it even more though!

  2. McKayla Thompson on September 17th, 2018 10:57 am

    Great article Carl! I think this program is such a great thing. I love being able to interact with kids who need a role model. I just got to meet my little king Wednesday, and I am so excited to see her every week. Good writing!

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Big Kings Little Kings: Mentoring the Young