Yankee Hill students deliver book boats to Rousseau

Most preschool students barely stand taller than the waist of a typical high school student.

But they loomed much larger for students from Yankee Hill Education Center who visited a classroom at Rousseau Elementary School this spring to deliver “book boats” they made for preschoolers.

The Yankee Hill students admitted they were intimidated at first.

“We were all really nervous coming here but the kids were all ready and excited,” said Haleigh LaPointe, a sophomore at Yankee Hill at the time of the visit. “It was different. It was fun to hang out with the students and interact with them.”

LaPointe was among a group of student leaders identified by Yankee Hill administrators to be part of the Yankee Hill Empowerment Cadre. Lincoln Public Schools Youth Development Team Coordinator Pete Ferguson worked closely with the group and helped organize its school visits and outreach efforts.

“This empowerment cadre is all about taking a group of students who we know are leaders, even though they may not know it yet,” said Mandy Blankenship, a staff team leader at Yankee Hill who accompanied the group.

They visited and read to students at Rousseau and Belmont elementary schools. The Rousseau book boats were plastic storage tubs, large enough for the preschoolers to comfortably sit inside and read. Each Rousseau student received their own book boat. The Yankee Hill students wrote the preschoolers’ names on the boats and the preschoolers chose stickers for decoration.

The Yankee Hill students may have been nervous at first, but It didn’t take long for them to bond with their preschool counterparts.

“They were nervous about how they would be received,” Blankenship said. “But I think as soon as they realized they had the skills and they were able to use them, the nerves went away. We weren’t surprised but pleased that they jumped in and found where the need was and filled that need.

“They shared their talents with the students.”

Published: June 11, 2018, Updated: June 11, 2018