James Davis began the Croft Community School Sports and Scholars program as a way to fulfill his National Honors Society community service hours, but the North Mecklenburg High School junior has grown to appreciate the program for much more than that.
The program, which kicked off earlier this school year, pairs North Meck High students with Croft's fourth- and fifth-graders for tutoring in areas the children need help with while getting them physically active, mostly through lacrosse.
"In the end we just ended up having a lot of fun doing it," said Davis.
The after-school program, which ended its first run at the end of November, was composed of nine high school students tutoring 12 children twice a week for half an hour before moving outside to teach them basic lacrosse skills - or on a couple occasions to play kickball - for another 30 minutes.
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Davis, a midfielder for the Vikings' lacrosse team, said he was glad he had the chance to teach the sport he loves.
Croft Community School principal Kathy Elling said the program was great because it helped children out with their academics while also allowing them to have a unique experience.
The principal said Davis approached her last spring about starting the program.
Davis said the idea for the program originated while he was having a conversation with his mother about wanting to start a tutoring program that kids would be actually be interested in - one that they could have fun with.
Elling said Davis succeeded at that, explaining that the children looked forward to the program.
"All the children were disappointed that it ended," she added.
Davis said that by the end of the program, most of the children were getting help in math.
"Their multiplying, adding, just their ability to work with numbers got a lot of better by the end of it," Davis said.
Davis, who also runs indoor track and cross country, said the children weren't the only ones learning. "I think the biggest thing I learned was leadership, being able to get little kids under control and actually that it was sometimes harder to keep some of my friends focused than it was the little kids," he said.
Davis has loved the experience so much that he says he plans to expand the program.
"I'm planning on going back to continue to do it and maybe do something a little bit different - different sports, different activities," he explained.
He said he's was looking forward to working with children again.
"They just know how to have fun very easily," he said.