McDaniel College Football players lend support to East Middle School students in Carroll County

Westminster, Md. - All is quiet in the library at East Middle School in Westminster.  Students have paired up with McDaniel College Football players for some one on one help.

It's part of East Middle's Bulldog Learning Lab Afterschool Program.  The players serve as mentors for students.

"They have an understanding.  They know what you are going through and they can help you," said Shemar Wilmot, eighth grade East Middle School student.

This is the first year of the program.  Mostly eighth graders take advantage of it.  The mentors help students with their homework.

They teach them the importance of getting good grades and making academics a priority.  Teachers see less behavioral problems in class, an increase in attendance and better grades since the program began.

"The students have attached onto their mentors.  They are excited about it. It helps build their self esteem.  It helps get work in.  They take more pride in their work now," said Emma Oberlechner, eighth grade U.S. History Teacher.

It also offers a sense of responsibility in helping others for football players.

"As a student athlete we have a lot to give back to the less fortunate.  We feel our guys are going to give a lot to people who can use our help and use a college role model that they would not have," said Matt Hutchings, Linebacker Coach at McDaniel College.

It's not all work and no play.  Students also enjoy some fun with the players on the basketball court.  Both students and the mentors enjoy their time together.

"I came here and I had a class that I wasn't doing to well in.  My time here has helped me bring that grade up to a B," said Wilmot.

There are 33 mentors in the program and 25 students.  They meet Monday through Friday from 2:30pm to 3:30pm at East Middle School in Carroll County.

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