Lynden Christian High Schoolers Connecting with Fisher Students

High school students deciding to focus on serving as positive role models in the lives of elementary students offers a win-win, no matter which schools are involved. That’s the case this year as students from Lynden Christian High School have partnered with Fisher and Isom elementaries to serve the kindergarten and transitional kindergarten students. 

“Kindergarten and transitional kindergarten are key ages for social-emotional learning, and to have the LCHS students join us teachers in supporting students in this learning is critical to our students learning these important lifelong skills,” says Megan Herwerden, Fisher Elementary dean of students. “Education is more than reading, writing and math, it’s teaching them to be caring, kind, how to cooperate, share and be respectful. The LCHS students assist us in reinforcing these lifelong skills.”

The partnership kicked off this school year when LCHS teacher David Tjoelker contacted Herwerden about a way his leadership and faith-in-action class could help the local elementary students. After going through the appropriate approvals and background checks, the Thursday afternoon connection started with 25 LCHS students. For the second semester, the LC class grew more popular, with 35 students now coming to Fisher’s kindergarten and transitional kindergarten and one class at Isom. 

“This is an elective, so the LC students coming have great attitudes and are ready and willing to jump in with the kids,” Herwerden says. “They get on the floor and play with trains, they get creative and build with blocks, they play with dolls, they color pictures, they pretend to make and eat food in the kitchen area and so much more. They model and support in sharing, turn taking, joining in a group, cooperating with others and show a kind and caring heart to our students.” 

“My students have very much enjoyed this,” Tjoelker says, “and I am very thankful to the teachers and staff that allow us to visit.” 

Herwerden says the young students typically look up to high school students, so it can be pretty special to see the excitement building every Thursday afternoon. On a recent day, Herwerden walked the high schoolers to the classroom as the young students waited by the door. “When they saw me come around the corner, one little boy says excitedly, ‘Mrs. Herwerden, you brought us our friends again! Thank you for bringing our friends to us.’ It was so sweet,” she says. 

The partnership between the classrooms will continue throughout the remainder of the school year and the positive feedback from all involved has Herwerden hoping it will continue beyond this school year. “Our students love it, and teachers appreciate the extra support during our Play to Learn time,” she says. “It’s been such a blessing to have the high school students come and interact in a positive way with our students. As a parent myself, the more positive role models in my kids’ lives the better, so I know the high school students are playing an important role in these elementary kids’ lives.” 

The cooperation is about more than just classrooms at LC and Fisher (and Isom). It is also about showing the community coming together. “This opportunity is just one way we show we are a part of the same neighborhood and community and can work together for the better of students,” Herwerden says. “Kids are kids no matter what school they go to. Kids all have amazing qualities, they all have struggles, they all have gifts and talents, they all have so much to offer our community. I hope this is just the beginning of us coming together as one community.” 

Boy using crayon on a piece of paper
Two girl soccer players
Two girls in a classroom