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Teen teachers make summer school cool

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news Woodbury, 55125

Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

They're widely known as the coolest teachers over the summer -- and they're the ones who don't even get paid.

A small army of teenage teachers is helping out at Kids Clubs across Woodbury this summer vacation, and everyone is talking about them.

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"I think one of the most important things that they do is role model to the kids when they are playing, and show them how to be a good sport and how to win and lose gracefully," said Jennifer Herlick, the site supervisor at Valley Crossing's Kids Club.

"The kids really look up to the [teenage teachers] because they aren't adults yet and so they are still cool."

The Kids Clubs cater to children entering first through sixth grade this coming fall, and are held at schools throughout the district, offering sports, arts, science projects and more.

Teen teacher Taylor Champoux was just completing her first day at Valley Crossing's Kids Club, and said she was already intending to extend her time of volunteering there through August, instead of stopping in July.

"I was looking for something to do over the summer," she explained. "A lot of the time I find myself bored with nothing to do, and my mom saw this and thought it would be a great idea, and said why didn't I give this a shot...

"I think it was just to do something a bit different. I have worked in a church nursery a little bit so I've worked with children before and it was fun."

As well as keeping her busy over the summer, it's also a time full of memories for Champoux, who will be a senior at Woodbury High School this fall.

The Kids Club sessions provide the first proper opportunity she's had to come back to Valley Crossing since she left as a student four years ago.

"I got to pick where I did this," explained Champoux. "I thought, 'Why not Valley Crossing -- it will give me an excuse to go back for a while.'"

Another teenage teacher, Sierra Eicher, was also returning to familiar territory.

"I used to be in the [Valley Crossing] Kids Club," said the Oak-Land Junior High ninth- grader. "So it was a good idea for me to come back. I want to get a job at a day care, so I thought it would help to do this here with kids."

At Middleton Elementary School, one teenage teacher, Erik Jorgensen, who's entering ninth grade at Lake Junior High this fall, has proved a hit with the children taking part in the summer program.

"The boys love seeing a high school boy here," explained Elizabeth Skaar, site supervisor.

"It's really good to have some boys come in and lead activities... A lot of the boys that are in the program gravitate towards him because he is a guy."

Last year, she added, the teenage teachers were such a hit that there was no hesitation when the supervisors were asked if they should return.

"When the supervisors discussed whether the teen teachers should come back, they all said, 'Absolutely!'" she recalled.

For more information on Kids Clubs through the summer and the rest of the year, log on to www.cecool.com.

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