OMHS Eagle Advisors take elementary students under their wings

OMES third grader Lizzie Sewell with Anna English, an Eagle Advisor and OMHS senior, during a visit from the Eagle Advisors on Jan. 22. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

OMES third grader Lizzie Sewell with Anna English, an Eagle Advisor and OMHS senior, during a visit from the Eagle Advisors on Jan. 22. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Oak Mountain Elementary School students have something new to look forward to each month. Every other week, classrooms at OMES are treated to a visit from the Oak Mountain High School Eagle Advisors.

The Eagle Advisors are a group of 38 juniors and seniors led by OMHS history teacher John Milton. Thanks to support from the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation and Publix Charities, the high school students were able to start visiting OMES in the fall, leading classrooms in a workshop about “ways to solve big and small problems,” OMES counselor Hayden Belisle said.

The Eagle Advisors were also paired up with select OMES students to mentor them on a one-on-one level.

“It has been an incredible partnership that has been really valuable for our students,” Belisle said. “They (the OMES students) are so excited, (the Eagle Advisors) are like superstars here.”

In addition to being a special treat for the elementary school students, Belisle said the visits from the Eagle Advisors have had a noticeable positive impact on the OMES students.

“Self esteem and self confidence have been the biggest boosts for the kids,” Belisle said.

OMES teachers have also enjoyed the extra support the Eagle Advisors provide in the classroom.

“After the first visit they were sold,” OMES Principal Debbie Horton said. “It was overwhelming to them to see how responsible the (OMHS) students are and how seriously they take their roles.”

This semester, the Eagle Advisors will continue to visit OMES, but with a slightly different focus.

“We’re transitioning into a different phase,” Belisle explained. “They’re going to be assigned to specific classes and working on a variety of things.”

In their assigned classrooms, the Eagle Advisors work closely with OMES teachers, assisting with lessons or pairing up with individual students to help with schoolwork and developing specific skills.

“I think it’s impacted (my students) because they get to have interaction with high schoolers instead of adults,” OMES kindergarten teacher Rhonda Thomas said.

Thomas assigned the two Eagle Advisors in her classroom to work individually with students on reading.

“(The Eagle Advisors) get their attention very well being a big kid rather than a grown up,” Thomas said. “It’s a different perspective.”

Belisle and Horton both said they hope to see the partnership between OMHS and OMES continue.

“It’s just a good partnership with the high school,” Horton said.