Some of Edgerton High School’s “freshmen” are quite a bit younger this year.
Six kindergarten classrooms are now housed at the high school because of ongoing construction that is part of the school district’s facilities referendum.
High school students are pitching in to help the new underclassmen through a program they call the Rascal Crew.
Around 20 students take turns sitting in the kindergarten hallway to help teachers and students however they can.
They walk kids to the office, nurse or bathroom, watch them at recess and interact with them. When the kids don’t need assistance, the upperclassmen work on their own homework.
One young student thought junior Clayton Jenny played for the Green Bay Packers because he was wearing his football jersey.
Jenny said a kindergartner pushed him because he saw Jenny do it on the football field.
“The relationships that you build with the kids and the connections you make is something I didn’t think would happen,” Jenny said.
He said the experience has taught him a few things, too.
“Just being able to talk to these kids and learn about the impact we really can have, it’s really inspiring,” Jenny said.
High school Principal Mark Coombs said the program has gone smoothly.
“They really help out the teachers with whatever they may need help with,” he said.
Alice Redalen, primary and 4K principal at Community Elementary School, said the initial plan called for teaching the kindergartners at a local church, but the high school eventually won that privilege.
“Everybody’s been rolling up their sleeves and opening the welcome mat for our students,” Redalen said. “The environment they’ve created has been so welcoming.”
Julie Lodahl supervises the Rascal Crew for the high school and helps with the kindergartners.
Other than getting a short introduction to their responsibilities, the high-schoolers haven’t needed much direction, she said.
“We kind of talked about a few basic rules right away, and they’ve just kind of taken it from there,” Lodahl said. “They’re awesome, and they’re not afraid to ask questions or ask for help.”
Lodahl said the Rascal Crew has been a big help.
“They’re just doing a great job. They’re not afraid to help out with kids, and we appreciate all they do.”
Rascal Crew member Ashley Kosmicki, who is a junior this year, said the effort has been rewarding.
“Just getting to know the kids and then later in the day they’ll run up to you. The relationships you build are just fun,” she said.
Some trips to the bathroom can get chaotic, but the experience is worth it, she said.
“They all talk to you. They want to play games with you. They just make me smile and laugh all the time.”