Long Beach High School’s Athletes Helping Athletes seniors did not allow the pandemic and school closure to bring them down – instead, they put their energy into a positive project that benefitted their younger peers. Approximately six students, along with club advisors Lori DeVivo and Lynn Volosevich, held Zoom sessions with fifth graders from all four elementary buildings to help them prepare for middle school.
The initiative was developed by senior Sage Bernstein, who pitched the idea to administrators as a way to make a difference and put the elementary students at ease during tumultuous times. Audrey Cozine, Isabella DeFonte, Jillian Domingo, Max Maquet and Claire McQuade joined her efforts and participated in the weekly meetings. Every Friday, they came together virtually with different groups of fifth graders and discussed the transition into sixth grade. They kicked off the series with Lindell classes on May 22, chatted with those from Lido on May 29, conferenced with East on June 5 and culminated with West on June 12.
In a traditional school year, Athletes Helping Athletes members visit with the district’s elementary students and assist during field day activities. They were able to continue their leadership and serve as role models through the remote gatherings. They described the middle school schedule, class options, grading system, extracurricular opportunities and much more, emphasizing the importance of trying new things and becoming involved in the school and community. They also noted that teachers are always available for support and answered questions that the elementary students submitted in advance.
The seniors were in fifth grade in the 2012-13 school year, when Superstorm Sandy disrupted their lives and routines. They integrated their experiences into the recent presentations and assured the younger students that better days are ahead. Both age groups wished each other well as they prepare for their next steps!