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Stockbridge High football players mentor youngsters

Special Photo 
Robert Beecham (left), a linebacker and running back at Stockbridge High, leads instruction with Lisa Dong’s kindergarten class at Stockbridge Elementary.

Special Photo Robert Beecham (left), a linebacker and running back at Stockbridge High, leads instruction with Lisa Dong’s kindergarten class at Stockbridge Elementary.

STOCKBRIDGE — School officials say teens can play a valuable role raising tots into productive citizens.

Members of the Stockbridge High School football team recently participated in Stockbridge Elementary School’s Tiger to Tiger Cubs Day. 

Stockbridge High coach Kevin Whitley, members of his staff and members of the staff at Stockbridge Elementary are partnering together to develop a mentoring program that allows high school upperclassmen to interact as role models with their younger peers at the elementary school level.

“We teach our athletes that they are role models, both on and off the field,” said Whitley. “This gives them an opportunity to be role models and help in the development of not only themselves but of others as well.”

Football players helped students on class assignments and played educational games outside of class with small groups.

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Special Photo Members of the Stockbridge High football team pose with Tina McPherson’s kindergarten class at Stockbridge Elementary, during the school’s Tiger to Tiger Cubs Day.

Stockbridge wide receiver Jacob Pinch and defensive tackle Walter Jordan were assigned to mentor and tutor students in Tina McPherson’s kindergarten class. McPherson is the 2012-13 runner up for Henry County Schools Teacher of the Year.

“It was great to see Stockbridge High School athletes take time to work with our students,” said McPherson.

Stockbridge’s wide receiver coach, Jarese Perkins, worked with school counselor James Young to organize the event.

“You can see the immediate difference being made by the athletes,” said Perkins. “The students are attentive during instruction and are actively engaged with our athletes.”

Senior linebacker and running back Robert Beecham said he was looking forward to returning for more mentoring opportunities at Stockbridge High.

Stockbridge Elementary Principal Bonita Fluker pointed to a moment she said defined the purpose of the schools’ new mentoring partnership.

Beecham shook a kindergartner’s hand and told him to “be good.” The kindergartner answered with a hug and said, “I will.”

“That shows you that a difference has been made,” said Flucker. “I look forward to having Stockbridge High School’s football team back for Tiger to Tiger Cubs Day.”

The next Tiger to Tiger Cubs Day will be held on Thursday with Stockbridge Elementary first-graders.