CLARKDALE., Miss. (WTOK) - A group of upperclassmen at Clarkdale High School are making sure freshmen know that they don’t bite and are there to help.
“If they have any problems at all we let them know that if they see us in the hallway, and just want to have a quick chat they can pull us aside,” says Hallie Crews Saulters, a senior at CHS. “If it’s just something like ‘hey, I just wanted to talk,’ then they can come talk to us.”
These students I spoke with Wednesday are part of group called the CHS LEADS program. It stands for ‘Let Everyone’s Action Determine Success.’
“9th graders, they feel really disconnected since they’re so young, they don’t know what’s going on in high school and they feel overwhelmed and they got somebody they could turn to to vent or to look up to or have advice from, then they can ask us and that’s what we’re here to help them with,” says Curt Todd, a senior at CHS.
The group also does community service and puts up bulletin boards filled with positive messages.
“Most importantly we do mentor groups and that’s where we take the 9th graders in groups of about a dozen and we just talk to them at least once a month about things like cyber bullying, how to have healthy relationships in high school, and really just how to curve through this winded road that is high school,” says Jodee Crane, a junior at CHS.
Many of the current group members thought the program was beneficial to them when they were freshmen and now want to give back.
“Coming into high school, taking accelerated classes, it was very overwhelming,” Crane says. “And to have my mentor, his name was Mason Gibson, who was taking AP classes and to kind of help us of realize [that] you’re going to get through this assignment, you’re going to get through this day, it really helped me and now it’s so great to turn around and be that positive impact on students now too.”
There are 23 students currently part of the LEADS program. The sponsor of the group is Clarkdale High School Spanish teacher Heather Rios, who also helped start the program.