Scheduling conflicts usually prevent high school students from volunteering with younger students during the school day, but two district campuses figured out a clever way to work around that obstacle in order to take part in the district’s Literacy by 3 movement.
Members of the National Honor Society at Davis High School have been using their early release day every month to spend time reading to students at Pugh Elementary. On Nov. 19, about 20 seniors spent the afternoon at Pugh, mentoring and working close to 30 students.
“I want to give back to my community and be a role model for these children,” said senior Cristal Cabrera.
“It reminds me of myself a long time ago,” added senior Josué Canizales. “It makes me nostalgic for those days.”
The arrangement took shape when Davis Principal Julissa Alcantar-Martinez and Pugh Principal Dario Villota were together at a training session and began talking about Literacy By 3, the district’s plan to ensure every student is reading on grade level by the time they leave third grade.
“We came up with the idea and made it happen,” said Villota. Gabriella Castorena, the president of the Davis HS National Honor Society, who’s also in charge of organizing members to participate. “I hope the same mentors return regularly throughout the school year so that they can develop a long-term relationship,” said Villota.
In addition to HISD students, employees are also mentoring students, either in-person or virtually, as part of the district’s Read Houston Read initiative. Community members, corporations, and retirees can sign-up to volunteer as well by visiting www.ReadHoustonRead.com.