Emma Nieto, Sinton High School junior, has been hard at work on her Community Problem Solving project, “Latchkey Learn.” This year her goal is to maximize the engagement of the Latchkey students in a variety of educational activities, so that Latchkey will be a positive learning environment.
In order to achieve this goal, Emma has implemented a number of solutions. She has partnered with Sinton High School National Honor Society to provide student volunteers to mentor the Latchkey students in a number of educational games and activities. She put together baskets for the mentors to use containing sight word flashcards, math fact flashcards, and hands-on math and spelling games specific for each grade level. With donations of games from Sinton Elementary School and Welder Elementary School, she created a mobile game cart filled with learning games so students can have fun while learning at the same time. The cart can be used in different classrooms after students have finished their homework.
In addition to indoor learning activities, she has also built a GaGa Pit for outdoor physical education and fun. GaGa is a high energy ball game, played in an octagonal pit. Emma built the Latchkey GaGa Pit with the help of NHS volunteers and the Sinton ISD maintenance department.
Emma said, “The best part about being a community problem solver is seeing the difference I have made on the Latchkey program and solving real life problems. I love seeing the kids’ faces light up when my solutions are put into action.”
Future plans for Project Latchkey Learn include the second annual Latchkey Fun Run, tentatively set for March 16. Also in the works is an art project for the Latchkey students, with assistance from former Sinton High School teacher, Alice Berecka.
Mrs. Stephanie Hesseltine, Latchkey director, commented, “Emma is making an impact on our after school program. Her projects have improved our students’ enjoyment of Latchkey after all of them have had such a long day at school.”
Emma would like to thank the staff at Latchkey, the Sinton ISD community, high school volunteers, and the community of Sinton for supporting Project Latchkey Learn. On February 20th, Emma will submit her project to The Texas Future Problem Solving Program to be evaluated in the Individual Community Problem Solving competition, Senior Division. Emma invites everyone to follow her progress on Instagram at ProjectLatchkeyLearn.