PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School students mentored Lakeside Elementary students while walking dogs and petting cats on Monday at the Southeast Kansas Humane Society.

The day was part of a partnership between Pittsburg High School Jobs for America’s Graduates class and Lakeside Elementary Teacher Marc Johnson’s class.

JAG is an elective class for PHS students which teaches students how to be a good employee, survive employment, make cover letters and resumes, and build leadership skills.

“The program works on developing a variety of skills for after graduation,” JAG Specialist Jeremy Johnson said.

Many of the activities within the class emphasize on project based learning, he said.
Johnson said volunteering to walk dogs, along with mentoring the younger students from Lakeside will help them develop soft leadership skills.

Elementary Teacher Marc Johnson said the partnership is beneficial for his students as well as the high school students.

“It helps them develop social skills and they have an opportunity for community involvement,” he said.

He said it will also help instill leadership skills for his elementary students, which he said he hopes they will be leaders in the future.

PHS Student Briana Allen said most high school students do not get to experience mentoring elementary students while helping a local shelter. She said it makes her happy to see the younger students smile and laugh as they pet the cats and dogs.

“It makes them happy so it makes me happy,” she said.

PHS Student Diana Salas agreed.

“I think it is really cool experience to be with kids like this,” she said.  

Salas said JAG has helped her prepare for her future, one she hopes to be in education.

“It has helped me a lot, I’ve learned a lot from it too,” she said. “It has been a place to meet new people — it’s good for me I'm one of those people who need that.

“It is nice to be able to handle the kids, I want to be an elementary school teacher — this was a good experience for me.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.