Hamilton’s Sidekicks Program celebrated its third year anniversary on Oct. 21 with its Welcome Pizza Party. This year, 55 Hamilton College students were matched with 55 Clinton Elementary School students, ranging from first to sixth grade. With 18 pizzas and 10 bottles of soda on hand, students anticipated an enjoyable evening.
Amy James, Hamilton’s director of community outreach, welcomed the parents and children as she spoke about the history of the Sidekicks Program. She reflected on how she had always wanted to have a program at Hamilton that partnered with the local elementary school. That dream was achieved when Meghan O’Sullivan ’15 established the program in the fall of 2012. The first year went surprisingly well thanks to O’Sullivan’s “extraordinary organizational skills,” as guest speaker Clinton Elementary School Principal Steve Marcus remarked during his speech.
Alexandra Penta ’16 and Jose Olivares ’16 then welcomed the new Sidekicks to the Hamilton family and spoke about the matching process. Although time-consuming, they both enjoyed the process and look forward to helping out next year. Next up to speak was Ian Nessel, a fourth grader at Clinton Elementary and Olivares’ Sidekick. Although a bit nervous, he delivered a heart-warming and humorous speech about his experiences with the Sidekicks Program, including getting the “bejeebers scared out of [him]” at last year’s Haunted House event in Sadove.
Now in its third year, the Sidekicks Program has had 105 Hamilton College students paired up with Clinton Elementary School students. As far as the future of Sidekicks, there is talk about expanding it to other elementary schools in the surrounding communities and also possibly installing an academic aspect.