Little Buddies take a peek at their future

McKenzie Mast, right, sits with her transitional kindergarten class members as they wear "Class of 2029" t-shirts during the sixth-grade class promotion ceremony at Sulphur Springs Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday, 060922. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Sulphur Springs Community School TK students says goodbye to their 6th grade mentors 

On the sidelines, transitional kindergarten students at Sulphur Springs Community School wore large white T-shirts with the words “future graduating class of 2029” and gazed up at their sixth-grade mentors as they walked the stage – and in a few years that would be them, too. 

When students at Sulphur Springs Community School returned to in-person instruction there was something missing, according to TK instructor Jada Dunn. After her daughter showed her a TikTok about Little Buddies, she got the idea to implement the program on campus.  

Transitional kindergarten class members wear “Class of 2029” t-shirts during the sixth-grade class promotion ceremony at Sulphur Springs Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday, 060922. Dan Watson/The Signal

Little Buddies is a program where older students “adopt” younger students and mentor them in different ways, such as teaching them how to be a good friend, helping them with homework, playing activities and more.  

“They [the sixth graders] had a special relationship with the TK students,” Dunn said. “The sixth graders came down weekly and taught the transitional kindergarteners everything as far as like perseverance, what’s it’s like to be friends with someone, especially after a pandemic.” 

Although Little Buddies isn’t an official program on the campus, Principal Chris Guerrero approved of the idea to have sixth graders and TK students interact with each other. According to Dunn, they are hoping to implement Little Buddies in the next school year because it made such an impact on the students. 

“It made such a difference in my students and it softened the sixth graders,” Dunn said. “It made them have a love for life.” 

As part of the 2022 graduation ceremony for the sixth graders, the TK students watched their mentors graduate and prepare for junior high. The idea came from sixth graders who wanted their little buddies to remember where they began and see how far they’ve come.  

“When the sixth graders came in to play with them, they would tell the TK students, ‘When I was in TK, I did this or I did that,’” Dunn said. “The sixth graders are now graduating and one day our TK students will be graduating just like them in 2029.” 

Sulphur Springs Community School transitional kindergarten class members, right, hi-five sixth-graders during the sixth-grade class promotion ceremony at Sulphur Springs Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday, 060922. Dan Watson/The Signal

According to Dunn, Guerrero is an amazing principal who really made Little Buddies happen.  

“Many of you here have been with us since kindergarten,” Guerrero said during his address. “This is your home. We’ve watched you grow up.” 

“The best part of school was the relationships and the friendships that you have built over the years.” 

From one group of students to the next, Little Buddies at Sulphur Springs Community School will aim to cultivate relationships between students and make each student feel they can persevere and feel at home. 

Transitional kindergarten class members wear “Class of 2029” t-shirts during the sixth-grade class promotion ceremony at Sulphur Springs Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday, 060922. Dan Watson/The Signal
Sulphur Springs Community School student Micah Terrell sits with her transitional kindergarten class members while wearing “Class of 2029” t-shirts during the sixth-grade class promotion ceremony at Sulphur Springs Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday, 060922. Dan Watson/The Signal

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