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“Helping Hawks” Is Pilot Program at Bellingham High School

Feb 29, 2016 06:00AM ● By Marjorie Turner Hollman
story & photo by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Contributing Writer

Many great ideas begin because of a problem. Some people simply complain about how things are; others seek to come up with ways to make things better. Bellingham High School senior Kyle Krainski noticed that the students in his study class spent much of their time in study period using their cell phones. One quick solution might be to remove all cell phones, or eliminate study periods. But Kyle got an idea.

Krainski, Matt Brown, and Danny Perkins, friends with one another, and all seniors at BHS, talked about what they could do. They conducted a poll of the students in their study class and discovered that their friends liked the idea of creating a group of students who were willing and ready to help teachers do simple tasks during the school day.

“I’ve helped Mr. Carlos Costa in his Health class, doing odd jobs for him that were helpful, and it was really fun helping others,” Krainski said.

Brown added, “Kyle and I were both bored during study hour; we’d already caught up on our assignments.”

Krainski spoke with Principal Lucas Giguere, who noted, “Kyle and I met several times to talk about the purpose of this program. I’m very supportive of it; we’re presenting the idea to the teachers, so hopefully we can get this off the ground.”

Krainski said, “Mr. Giguere gave us a lot of guidance as we put together this project, ‘Helping Hawks.’ He’s a busy guy but he made time for us.” For now, “Helping Hawks” would be available for only 11th and 12th grade students. Participation will be by application, parents would be required to give written permission, and each student would need to have two teachers sign their application recommending them for the program.

Giguere said, “I’m impressed with the logistical piece of this project.”

Teachers and students have started talking about it, figuring out how it will all work. “We’re in the process of getting students and teachers to help us run a simple beta test right now,” Brown explained. “We want students to test the program before we fully launch it to make sure it’s effective, then fix any possible problems.”

Krainski reported he’d heard teachers expressing interest in receiving help keeping the school website updated, where teachers post regular homework assignments. Teachers can sign up for the “Helping Hawks” program and indicate how many students they can use, which periods they need help with, and which tasks they’d like help with. Students will receive credit for community service hours for the time they put in.

“Our goal is to benefit teachers,” Krainski explained. “It’s meant to help, not make work for our teachers, who are already working really hard.”

Throughout the process of developing “Helping Hawks,” these students have already begun to learn about what it takes to turn an idea into reality. With some support and experimentation, but above all, by meeting a need, they may find they’ve come up with a winning idea. Best of luck in this effort, and we look forward to hearing lots more about “Helping Hawks” in the coming days.

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