Friday Night Rivals: New Berlin Playground Pals
NEW BERLIN, Ill. (WICS) —
It's not every day that 11th and 12th graders get to go to recess, and for the kids that do, they have a mission.
"A lot of the little girls like to learn cheers, or they just like to do cheers and tumbling and stuff on the playground, so they like to talk to me about that,” says Molly Weast, a Senior at New Berlin High School.
Elementary students in New Berlin get to play with some older kids at recess. It's all a part of the Playground Pals program, where national honor society students at the high school are role models to these kids. The goal is to encourage sportsmanship and fair play when sports are being played, but the high schoolers also know that sometimes it's worth just being around these kids and talking with them.
"I know what it's like to be that kid who all of your friends were going to play baseball and you are not athletic, so you are sitting there by yourself and you’re kind of sad because you don't know what to do. So I think it's really important that those kids have someone that they can talk to,” said Jessica Markley, a Junior at New Berlin High School.
It's something they look forward to every day during recess. Having role models helps prevent conflict, and also encourages positive relationships among classmates.
"I just remember when I was a kid looking up to the high schoolers like we are right now. And honestly, it's a lot of fun!" said Hunter Stockton, a Senior at New Berlin High School.
"The kids see me on the volleyball court or as a cheerleader and I think it makes them more comfortable to come up to me and want to see me. So you get to say hi and they're like 'oh my gosh I know you!'" says Anna Owens a Senior at New Berlin High School.
24 high schoolers are involved in the program and 5 or 6 go to the elementary school every day after class.