EHS Students Return to Parkway for "Panther Pals" Mentoring Program
Parkway Elementary School and Ewing High School teamed up to launch the “Panther Pals” Schoolwide Title I after school mentoring program. This partnership brings high school volunteers to the PES Extended Day Program to work directly with elementary students on teamwork and social emotional learning through cooperative activities, crafts, and games.
The idea for this program originated with EHS junior Nathalia Davila, who reached out to Parkway Principal Nicole Harris via email in July. “As high school students, we are largely disconnected from the elementary school environment,” said Nathalia. “However, having enjoyed attending Parkway School myself, I relished the opportunity to be able to provide current Parkway Panthers with the same impactful experience. Having been in the students’ “shoes” before, I know that growing up is never easy and therefore, a positive and dependable role model can make all the difference.”
Intrigued by the idea, Principal Harris requested a meeting to discuss the concept further. “After we met I knew that this was a project that I had to help bring to fruition,” said Principal Harris. “I was excited to work on a partnership project with EHS students that was created by a former PES student.”
With the assistance of EHS Student Council Advisor Mr. Hammer, program details and logistics became finalized during the first few months of the school year. By December, an initial cohort of 15 EHS sophomores and juniors were selected, and starting in January they have begun holding biweekly mentoring sessions at Parkway. On January 9th, Parkway students and their high school mentors got to know each other through a partner interview. On January 28th, mentors and mentees collaborated on posters for Parkway’s ongoing canned food drive. Both sessions have been incredibly successful, and all of the small groups have started to connect. According to Principal Harris, “The EHS students are enthusiastic and working well with the PES students. The PES students have welcomed an afterschool opportunity to work with the high schoolers and are now coming to me with ideas for future meetings. It is my hope that these current PES students who are participating be the future EHS students who will be facilitators in this program.”
“I wanted to create a program that would balance fun and engagement, which I believe Panthers Pals effectively does,” added Nathalia. “I am overjoyed that Mr. Hammer, Mrs. Harris and I were able to create a unique and uplifting space that facilitates interpersonal relationships.”