Study Buddies program connects WHS and elementary school students

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Credit: Ellie Smith

Sophomore Riley Leichliter, the creator of Study Buddies, works hard to match high school students with elementary school families. Study Buddies is a new program to help elementary school students with remote school. “Study Buddies are high school students that help elementary school students with their school work and other activities, [which can include] art, gym, music classes, read aloud and one-on-one tutoring,” Leichliter said.

With remote school starting up again, students are spending their days inside and staring at a computer for several hours. For elementary school and younger students, this is a difficult task because they need to get outside, be active and make new friends. However, sophomore Riley Leichliter has created a solution: Study Buddies.

“Study Buddies are high school students that help elementary school students with their school work and other activities, [which can include] art, gym, music classes, read alouds and one-on-one tutoring,” Leichliter said.

Study Buddies will help about 60 families with students in grades K-5. High school students will help with homework and offer different activities focused on helping younger students get outside, get creative and get off screens.

“I came up with [Study Buddies] because my friend’s little sister was having a lot of trouble with online school and homework,” Leichliter said.

High school helpers are willing to make changes and meet whatever needs the elementary kids have so they will get the most benefits from the program.

“I’m planning to help my group of students with whatever is necessary, whether that’s homework, a subject in general or non-school related issues,” sophomore Ashley Rice said. “I think the main goal is to provide these students with an extra person who knows how the school system works, has a wide variety of things they can help with and is generally just there to help.”

Leichliter came up with the program with younger students in mind, but it doesn’t stop there. It has helped take off some of the load from parents who have young kids in online school and are working from home.

“I think this program will impact not only elementary school students but [will] also impact parents so that all of the homework-help responsibilities do not fall onto them anymore,” Leichliter said.

In addition to helping the elementary school kids and families, the program will also impact the more than 65 high school students who are involved. They will receive community service hours for their help – but the benefits go deeper than that.

“I think another great benefit to this program is that it is very community-oriented,” Rice said. “Hopefully, in the end, many new student-to-student relationships will be formed, and maybe if many find this program beneficial, a long term program could be sought out even when returning [to in-person] schooling.”

Once high school students are matched with elementary school families, Study Buddies will make its start and help many families and students with remote learning as well as connect high school students to the community by being a role model for younger grades.

“I think [that Study Buddies] will definitely bring me closer to the community because I will meet and work with families that I wouldn’t normally have met,” senior Sophia Midgley said. “I think this program as a whole will really strengthen our community and bring us together in a difficult time.”