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State Honoree

Emily Schirmer

South Dakota

Emily Schirmer, 14, of Colome, S.D., an eighth-grader at Colome Junior High School and an aspiring teacher, developed a buddy program for elementary school students. “I thought it was necessary to connect older students with younger ones because young students need role models and older students need someone to look up to them,” said Emily. First, Emily spoke with administrators and teachers about her idea. Since many of the young students live in rural areas, Emily felt it was important to host the program during school hours. She recruited assistance from a few friends, and together they planned activities and schedules for the program, all intended to help make learning fun for the children involved. Emily’s project is just beginning and she’s planning on developing it further in the future.