Anderson Cotton wants to become an educator, and through the Athlete Mentoring Program at Hammond Hill Elementary School, he’s getting some hands-on experience.
Anderson, 17, is one of 14 athletes from North Augusta High School who rotate days spending 45 minutes in the morning tutoring fifth-graders at Hammond Hill.
“It gives me a chance to give back and a chance to see how I can help,” said Anderson, a football player.
One recent morning, Anderson assisted 10-year-olds Chance Jones and Bryson Mealing in Hammond Hill’s cafeteria after spending time with them in the classroom.
Bryson said he enjoys the individual attention.
“I get to work one on one with them so I get to understand things a little better,” he said.
“It helps a lot with our homework, quizzes and tests,” he said.
Some athletes are providing the pupils with tips that have helped them learn various concepts.
“I’m a helpful person,” said Maurice Williams, also a football player. “I wanted to help the kids with some of the same problems I had when I was in elementary school.”
AMP is a program that began in August through the collaboration of North Augusta High’s athletic director, Dan Pippin, and Hammond Hill’s principal, Janet Vaughan. The program connects the high school athletes with fifth graders to assist them in academics.
“They’re making it but with a little bit of interest in them and help from the high school students, we’re hoping it’ll help them peak,” said Dr. Lollie Becton, AMP coordinator, of the program.
The program organizers’ goals are to increase both math and reading scores on the spring MAP assessment from where the students were in the fall during the September testing, she said, noting they want to see a five point increase in math and a three point increase in reading.
While program organizers will have some quantitative data to see how well the program is working, there are some things that may take years to see the results from, added Becton.
“We’ll see some quantitative data with an increase in points and some qualitative data with regards to students’ opinion on how they’re doing, a self-assessment,” she said. “But, when you have a mentoring program, you may not know the long-term effects. There’s hope that it will have lasting effects. I think all of us can think of someone who impacted us but at the time didn’t realize it ...and now realize how influential they were in our lives.”
It’s an impact athlete Mallory Stone sees as an important part of the program.
“I didn’t have mentors growing up, a chance to get help from older students,” said the 17-year-old basketball player. “Some of these students look up to us in our sports and now, they get to see us here in the classroom. I think it will make a positive impact on them.”