Seeking Big Brothers/Big Sisters for Norwood students


(Posted Oct. 15, 2015)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Springfield is opening their doors to volunteers for a new school-based mentoring program at Norwood Elementary in West Jefferson.

“We have not had a mentoring program in Madison County prior to this,” reported Central Ohio Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Vice President David Schirner during an Oct. 12 presentation to the Jefferson Local school board. “Basically, it is a social development type program. Kids who have good mentors do well in school.”

The Springfield organization’s president, Linda Shaffer, said her group is actively recruiting mentors to spend one hour per week on Thursdays helping students to improve their social skills and educational performance.

“Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is all about starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring our ‘littles’ to reach their potential,” stated the local organization. “It has been proven that students involved in school-based programs develop a better attitude toward education, achieve more, have greater self-worth and a reduced potential for negative outcomes.”

The only qualification to become a mentor is a desire to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides on-site supervision each week, along with individual support. According to Shaffer, volunteers will be screened, interviewed and matched with students.

With the school-based initiative, mentors are not allowed to meet with their little brother or little sister outside of the program.

For more information, contact Shaffer at (937) 284-0063.

Applauding student’s achievements 

In other action, National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, Honda/OSU Math Medal award-winner and high school senior Grant Dersom received a pair of certificates for his academic achievements.

Dersom was one of 1.5 million students from over 22,000 schools who took a PSAT qualifying test in 2014 and only one of 603 in Ohio to be named a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship contest.

“He supercedes his peers by decades of understanding,” said high school counselor Joe Palazzo. “He’s a hard worker in the classroom and outside the classroom.”

Palazzo reported that Dersom, who is an open-enrollment student, is also musically inclined. As a freshman, Dersom composed a song that the concert band performed. He was also named to a men’s honor choir and participated in the school musical. In addition, Dersom is a four-year member of the tennis team and scored 35 out of 36 possible points on the ACT.

“I am very appreciative of being able to come to this school,” said Dersom during the presentation. “Overall, it’s a great school district.”

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