Buddy-Class Initiative Introduces Art Fundamentals this Semester
When the bell rings for fifth hour, Taylor Hensler, junior, makes her way to Art Fundamentals to be a mentor to students who receive Special School District (SSD) services.
Hensler has been involved with the visual arts all throughout her high school career, taking both Painting 1 and 2 after taking Art Fundamentals in middle school.
When requested to be a mentor in this new buddy-class initiative, Hensler said she was extremely overwhelmed.
“I thought it would be a really cool experience because art is a passion of mine,” Hensler said. “Working with these kids is amazing because I
really get to see what they know and the skills they are developing in this class.”
Each day Hensler is paired off with a student that receives SSD services. Her job is to become comfortable with the student and guide them
in their artistic ventures.
“I want to go into education so being a mentor in the lives of kids with special needs is great,” Hensler said. “They are able to do and be
involved with the same things as us, and that’s something that needs to be understood.”
Hensler was picked to be a mentor by Stephanie McDaniel, art teacher.
“The art teachers sat down together and came up with a letter to use to invite the students that we thought would be interested in the program,” McDaniel said. “We went through and hand selected students that were good in art but also work well with the kids.”
The buddy-class initiative is new to MHS as of this semester. There is also a buddy-class for Acting 1, Foods, and Lifetime Recreational Sports. Lifetime Recreational Sports is offered every year while Acting 1, Foods, and Art Fundamentals are offered in rotation.
“I just hope that through this initiative, people as a whole get more comfortable with people that are different than them, for whatever reason,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said the students who receive SSD services are responding positively to the buddy-class system.
One of those students is Jack Killeen, junior. He said he loves to draw and his friends at his table always help him when he needs it.
“My friends and I love to draw and have fun in class,” Killeen said. “We learn to draw something new everyday.”
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