The bell sounded signaling the end of the day; that’s whenthe party got started. A cleared Loveland High School cafeteria quickly filledup. Skyline chili was ready to grab, music filled the air and crafts weregrouped on round tables where students quickly found their place.
“I’ve been involved in the Partner’s Club since my freshmanyear,” said Allie Suder, now a senior. “I wish every student at every schoolhad this unique opportunity.”
It is an opportunity to bring groups of students togetherthat was the idea of Molly Swaine, Loveland High School intervention specialistwith transitional classroom learning. During the day, Swaine teaches sixstudents curriculum that promotes life skills and vocational training. Afterschool, Swaine hosts the after-school, social gatherings between her studentswith special needs and the students who are in regular education. It’s a partyshe’s been overseeing for 13 years – since she first started teaching atLoveland.
“It is so important for my students to have a socialnetwork,” explained Swaine. “All kids need to feel like they are a part ofsomething, and this group achieves that goal.”
The Partner’s Club meets once a month. Each event bringstogether between 60 - 90 students. But, the interaction doesn’t end with theclub. Swaine also set up a mentoring program; this year she has 10 mentors –all seniors – who come into her class to work with the students. Allie Suder isone.
“I love the kids; they always brighten my day,” said Suder.“They teach me to look at the positive things in life. I feel like I give agreat deal as a mentor, but it has an even bigger impact on me.”