OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – Some local 7th graders are getting a great opportunity to spend some time with college education majors to enrich their education.

The program is called H.E.S.S., which stands for Help Enrich Someone Special. Twelve Wheeling Middle students go to Wheeling University on Thursdays to participate in a variety of STEAM activities.

The benefits of the program are two-fold: The kids get the chance to develop their critical thinking skills, figure out creative solutions to problems and be around good role models. The mentors also learn just as much being around the kids. They learn about the needs of students and ways to identify and foster their strengths.

“We do a variety of activities. We do team bonding activities in the beginning where we’re just working on collaboration, communication, all those sorts of good skills that the kids are going to use later in life.”

KEALA MCCURRY, Education Major at Wheeling University

“So the reason it’s nice to get out of my school is because I’m not around the same teachers teaching me the same thing. I’m around new people almost every Thursday teaching me new things, teaching me how to make things and things like that.”

Jayden Poling, 7th grader

Dr. Dianna Vargo, the Director of Education Programs at Wheeling University, says they are so grateful to the HESS Family Foundation for bringing this program back to the university after the pandemic shut it down in March of 2020.