SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Tyler Benoit is a New York Yankees fan, which he says started at age three. He’s building a map with Yankee Stadium smack dab in the middle and then adding other items around it as the project requires.
The 8th-grade classroom at Southington Catholic School is an example of what a small classroom can afford students, which is a lot of one-on-one attention. Those who attend school there think of it as one big community. Administrators say it’s a luxury to be very close with students and their families.
“Grade 8 is working on their final project in their study of world geography, and they’re creating a map for our younger students in grades 2 and 3 to use to enhance their understanding of world geography,” said Patricia Carroll, a teacher.
The students in the class are invited to be creative, so maps center around their interests.
“I chose the theme ocean and named it ‘Oceana,’” said Amber Smith. “I’m into the oceans and recently, I was swimming with the dolphins, and I loved it, so I wanted to make something similar to that.”
Because the school is so intimate, administrators are proud to be able to prepare their younger students with the help of their older peers. In turn, the 8th graders are better prepared to head into high school with some leadership skills already developed.
“The younger students look up to them and see them as who they aspire to be in the future,” said Jim Messina, Principal of Southington Catholic. “They’ve learned to be monitors and big brothers and big sisters to the younger students at our school.”
As the 8th graders leave the school in the not-so-distant future, they’ve already “mapped” their way into a better understanding of the geography around them.