Sacandaga students work on their literacy skills – with help from some friends from the high school

Sac student and HS students working on a game

Whether they were “fishing” for words, chasing ping pong balls with words written on them or collecting gold coins with words on them, Sacandaga’s kindergartners were surrounded with words today.

You could call it the Literacy Olympics.

Twelve high school athletes, who also excel in the arts, math, science and lot of other areas, were at the school with the Tartans Teaching Tartans program. They worked with the elementary students as they traveled through five literacy-based games set up in the gymnasium. Each game was designed to get students active while learning new letters and words.

“They all get good grades and are leaders,” Physical Education teacher Ron Ashcraft said of the high school students. “Maybe some day, you’ll be here when you’re in high school and helping students just like yourself.”

In her directions to the high school students, before the kindergartners came into the gym, Physical Education teacher Candra Mulligan said there was one simple goal with the five stations: “We want everybody to feel successful; we want them to leave with the feeling that they are readers,” she said.

With kindergartners, she noted that there could be some challenges since some may know how to read while others are still learning letters. “There may be some sticky issues. Work with them and just be sure everybody feels good about it.”

She said older students, such as grades 3-5, had different activities with the high school students.

“I think it was really good for the little kids to learn this way,” said sophomore and former Sacandaga student Zach Swain before the kindergartners arrived. “The older kids were pretty easy to deal with; they understood what we were saying to them.”

He said it would have been nice to have this program when he was a student at Sac.

Senior Gabe Winters-Bona agreed, noting that the older students tended to get what was going on. “I expected them to say, ‘hey, why are we doing this,’ but nobody said that,” said Gabe, who has a younger sibling at home. “This is nice because they get to see how we are and to try to be like that as they get older.”

Ashcraft, Mulligan and Physical Education teacher Andrew Swayne set up the activities and oversaw the program. Another group of high school students worked with Sacandaga students on Tuesday.

Here are several photos on Facebook.

High school students who participated in the program

Sac student and HS students working on a game

High School student smiling while Sac students try to complete a task

HS student running with a Sacandaga student