OPDYKE — Ten new students will be inducted into the Opdyke-Belle Rive School District’s R.E.A.C.H. Club Thursday night at a special candlelight ceremony.
The program, in its second year, is made up of seventh and eighth grade Opdyke students who tutor their fellow classmates and complete volunteer service projects in the community.
According to the club’s mission statement, the purpose of the program is to “promote outstanding character and leadership skills.”
“It’s very beneficial to the students,” said Jane Rohr, eighth grade home room teacher and R.E.A.C.H. Club sponsor. “I love watching the students grow. They become buddies with the students they are tutoring.”
To become a club member, students must have maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher, have no discipline problems, and be recommended for the program by two core teachers.
Thursday’s induction ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. following the Open House at the Opdyke-Belle Rive Grade School.
At the ceremony, new members will receive lit candles, recite the R.E.A.C.H. Club pledge, and then blow out their candles.
Rohr said the ceremony is meant to be a symbolic gesture to illustrate the students’ “dedication to the cause.”
With the 10 new members, the program will have a total membership of 16 students.
Ashtyn Dye, an Opdyke eighth grader who joined the program last year, said the experience of being a tutor has been very beneficial. Dye also serves as president of the club.
“We not only help the students, we help ourselves by becoming better people,” Dye said. “I just wanted to help others and it feels good to help other people.”
As part of the program, R.E.A.C.H. Club members devote a certain number of hours a week to tutoring kindergarten through eighth grade students at the grade school.
For the younger students – kindergarten through third grade – much of the tutoring consists of listening to the children read, Rohr said.
With the older students, the tutoring usually involves helping them with their homework.
“We do have children that need extra help and there is only so much time in the day,” Rohr said.
Eighth grader Taylor Storey will be one of the 10 new members inducted Thursday night. She said she looks forward to doing her part to help Opdyke students and the community.
“I want to be a better person,” Storey said. “I want to help others become better people.”