Have fun and help others – Jack’s Wildcats provides a great opportunity at WCHS


Photo courtesy of Tessa Meretta

Members of the WCHS club, Jack’s Wildcats tutor on Seven Locks Elementary School every Tuesday and Thursday after school. They tutor kindergarten through fifth grade.

By Jordan Pashkoff, Arts Editor

A student’s progression through their education journey takes them from playing house in kindergarten, to learning algebra in middle school to taking AP exams in high school. High school can be a stressful time for students, one where many people find themselves reminiscing on easier elementary or middle school days. One way to productively appreciate the journey a student has had is to give back to the community that got them there. The WCHS club Jack’s Wildcats provides that opportunity directly through allowing high schoolers to tutor at elementary school.

“Jack’s Wildcats is a tutoring club that helps out in classes of all age groups at Seven Locks Elementary School,” co-president and WCHS sophomore Emma Datch said. “Tutors can do anything from reading a book to the class to performing a science excitement to playing with kindergartners outside.” 

Jack’s Wildcats was started in October of 2021 by three sophomores, Andrew Datch, Emma Datch and Tessa Meretta, looking to carry on the memory and legacy of SLES and WCHS alum, Jack Langerman.

“Jack Langerman was a student at Seven Locks who loved it and the teachers. He even donated his time after he graduated to help out the teachers around the school. His brother started a similar club at Wayside,” co-president and WCHS sophomore Andrew Datch said. “Tragically, an accident resulted in his passing but his parents started a foundation donating to communities he loved. One of those was Seven Locks Elementary School.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the members of Jack’s Wildcats are bussed to SLES where they tutor from 2:45 to 3:30 pm. Between one and three students are put in the classrooms of teachers who request tutors. Jack’s Wildcats lend a big hand to the teachers and aides of classrooms, especially during the end of the day where work needs to get finished and kids start to get antsy about going home. 

“We tutor the kids and teach them how to collaborate and share, and we help out the teachers in the classrooms,” Andrew Datch said. “I love the interactions I have with the students.”

The club presidents communicate with their members via GroupMe, where an availability form is sent out to each member. Each week, one of the presidents will come out with the list of who is signed up to go on Tuesday and Thursday. This way everything is organized and communication is strong. 

“The way we organize the club is very important to the success of it,” co-president and WCHS sophomore Tessa Meretta said. “We keep everything clear and make it easy for the tutors to tell us if they can’t come or if we need to make adjustments or group announcements.”

For the first few months of Jack’s Wildcats, high school volunteers would choose what class and teacher they wanted to help out. Starting the week of Feb. 21, the co-presidents assign one or two volunteers to a classroom to minimize traffic and time spent in the SLES main office. The grade that the volunteers are working with will usually dictate what they are doing. 

“I tend to work with the kindergartners, so this means I spend a little less time working on formulating ideas and assignments with the kids, but more time helping them learn about sharing, playing fair, and being a good friend,” Meretta said. 

The preselected classrooms take what the tutor usually chooses in consideration. Different tutors like to help different age groups so they can play to their own strengths and most benefit each child. 

“My favorite age group to work in is the fifth grade,” Emma Datch said. “It is amazing to watch kids that I used to be a patrol for being the big kids around school. I like how I am learning things too while tutoring them and they always find a way to make me laugh.”

One of the things that makes Jack’s Wildcats so special and beneficial to elementary school students is the consistency of seeing the same faces each week. The tutors are able to build relationships with the students since they keep coming back to help the same teachers. This allows the elementary students to form bonds and become comfortable with the tutors, making it easier to ask questions and get help when they need it. 

“My favorite part about the club is getting to know the elementary schoolers and forming bonds with these kids that I get to see every week,” Meretta said. 

Jack’s Wildcats is a club for anyone who loves kids and wants to help teachers and younger students. Even if the tutor did not go to SLES as a student, there is still something nostalgic about going back to an elementary school and helping future WCHS bulldogs. 

“Jack’s Wildcats is all about giving back to the community I grew up in while doing something I love, hanging out with kids.” Emma Datch said.