Limestone Students Volunteer to Tutor at Elementary School
Shavonnah Stephens '13 (left) tutors students at Limestone-Central Elementary.
By Scott Powell; Gaffney Ledger

Some Limestone College students are showing their future could lie in the classroom while involved in a new tutoring program at Limestone-Central Elementary.

More than 20 athletes and education majors from the nearby college began volunteering their time Feb. 1 for tutoring sessions with 53 elementary students. Members of Limestone men's soccer, women's soccer and field hockey teams are spending 90 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday working with the elementary students in small groups after school.

Whether using flash cards or playing games, Limestone-Central Elementary Principal Chad Hudson said the college students focus on making learning fun and helping the children sharpen their math skills.

"I am so impressed with the excitement of the children and the interest shown by the college students," Hudson said. "Our young children really look up to the college students and enjoy being around them. The tutoring program has steadily grown in popularity. We've had several parents come sign their children up to participate in the past couple of weeks."

The tutoring program grew out of discussions Hudson had with Limestone College assistant education professor Dr. Paula Schubert last fall. Schubert was a frequent school visitor while supervising three student teachers at Limestone- Central Elementary.

"We feel this is a great opportunity for our education majors to get valuable field experience in a school," Schubert said. "It is an exciting platform for our prospective teachers and has given athletes an opportunity to have a personal one-onone relationship with the students. Another benefit is it has gotten the elementary students to start thinking about college as an option."

Limestone-Central Elementary is located on Pacolet Road, which is located three miles from the college campus. The elementary school has hosted many student teachers from Limestone's education department since it opened in 1998.

Given the close proximity of the schools, Schubert and Hudson wanted to explore ways Limestone College students could become more involved with the elementary school.

"Limestone College athletic director Mike Cerino is a big supporter of the tutoring initiative. He was very helpful in setting up meetings with the coaches to help us get started," Hudson said. "It's doubful we would be able to do this community outreach program without the Limestone College Athletic Department's involvement."

The tutoring program involves Limestone students who compete in fall sports such as soccer and field hockey. The college will look at getting athletes involved from lacrosse, baseball and other spring sports later this year.

"Our athletes spend a lot of time traveling so we felt it would be best to involve teams whose seasons have ended," said Erin Hopper, who is serving as a liaison between the athletic department and the Limestone-Central tutoring program. "The Limestone College students really look forward to coming over to the school. They always have a good time with the students."