The Warrior Way will be making its annual visit to elementary schools across Andover this Friday, April 13, to teach children the importance of teamwork, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Ms. Martini, co-founder and organizer of the Warrior Way, defines it as a “role model and mentoring program” not only for the young children, but for the high schoolers as well.
The program was created in 2009 and only had around thirty-five to fifty kids involved in it, but has since more than quadrupled in size. Martini views the trips as “an opportunity for [AHS] to send… good role models to the elementary schools” in order to help provide the young kids with a positive learning atmosphere and an unforgettable experience.
“Every grade level has a theme,” Martini explained, “and we teach a lesson around whatever the theme of that particular grade level is.” Themes include character, sportsmanship, and what it means to be a good teammate.
The club visits every public elementary school in Andover and spends the entire day with students, helping them in class as well as playing games with them at recess.
“I have heard many teachers say that it is one of the kids’ favorite days of the school year,” said senior Emma Farnham, co-head of the Warrior Way. “All of these kids look up to you and want to be just like you, and knowing that you make a great impact in their life is such a rewarding feeling.”
The Warrior Way not only benefits the elementary school children, but also has an effect on the high schoolers as well. “Being a part of this club and being a chairman has impacted my life greatly,” said Farnham. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a part of Warrior Way and play sports for Andover High. And being a Warrior Way student athlete mentor has made me a better leader, teammate, and person.”
Senior Ryan Fu said that being a part of the club is like being “a part of something great,” and that it gave him the opportunity to branch out and meet new people.
Both Farnham and Fu can recall a time in elementary school when high schoolers in the Warrior Way came to visit their classrooms. “I remember when I moved here in fifth grade. I had no idea what was going on, but one day a bunch of high schoolers came and played games with us the entire day,” said Fu. “I thought it was so cool that they were playing basketball and football with us just because they wanted to.”
Fu moved to Andover the same year that the program started, and the Warrior Way helped him meet new people and make new friends. Fu will be continuing his athletic career next year at the University of Michigan playing tennis.
Farnham said her experiences with the Warrior Way program were just as fond. “When I was in fifth grade, I remember high schoolers coming to West Elementary. They ate lunch with me and played with me at recess and I remember that being one of the best, most memorable days of my life,” said Farnham. “As a successful athlete I look back to that moment and realize how much that impacted me. It’s helped shape me into the student athlete that I am today.” Farnham will be continuing her athletic endeavors next year at UMass Amherst, where she will play on the women’s lacrosse team.
By Brooke Lenes