Atoms Buddies Program set to start


The Atom Buddies Program is an afterschool program that is designed to help elementary students with their literacy understanding and skills. It is meant to give young students the opportunity to collaborate with high school students and socialize on different topics.

This program encourages young students to involve themselves in conversation and educational games.

The Atom Buddies Program was first launched in the school year of 2019-2020, and served students at Braddock Elementary School. Now, given the crisis the world is facing, the need for this program to launch once again is even more prominent.

In the upcoming months, Annandale students will be given the chance to work virtually with students from Columbia Elementary School.

“It was created to give students – both in high school and in elementary school – someone to talk to and connect with,” senior Sophia Baraban said. “The overall goal of the program is to foster a love for English and create a bond between the high schooler and elementary schooler.”

Due to the pandemic, there is a large emphasis on the social aspect of this program. With elementary students especially needing attention, the program is meant to provide an efficient way of delivering that support.

“In light of COVID, everyone has been impacted, especially socially,” senior Abia Zahir said. “We wanted to make sure elementary students have the chance to talk to someone in addition to receiving educational support.”

There are also many practical benefits for both parties through socialization. Both elementary and high school students would be given the opportunity to obtain the basic social skills that could be deemed useful.

“The elementary school students will be able to increase their confidence in English as well as gain friends to talk to and look up to,” Baraban said. “In turn, the high school students will become more understanding as well as become better listeners and advisors.”

With the ever changing pace of learning, it is expected for an impact on the stability of everyone’s focus and willingness to comprehend the material, strongly including elementary students.

“A child’s formative, elementary school years are crucial, and I think our buddies at Columbia ES will be able to use this experience to grow into stronger students, more confident in their academic and social abilities,” english teacher Sasha Duran said.

Learning environments have a large impact on a student’s ability to learn and it is even more important to keep young students engaged in their work.

“The pandemic has gravely impacted elementary students when they need to be going to school the most in order to soak up the foundational knowledge they need to move on the following school years,” Zahir said.

Along with the environment, the extreme shift in routine has the possibility to impact students as well. The importance of emotional and academic support for younger students has become even more notable.

“This year, that routine is gone and many students find it hard to focus due to the change in setting,” Baraban said. “We will be having Atom Buddies once a week at the same time to help establish that routine and consistent support for the students.”

Volunteers from the National Honors English Society hope to give students a kind of weekly support as well as someone to bond with.