What it Means to be a Star

The Big Star, Little Star program, started in 2017 and still continued to this day, allows East seniors to visit and build a relationship with early childhood students to give them an extra lift when they need it most.


East seniors Kiley Doll (far left) and Megan Davis (far right) work with Wyandot students on an activity.

Maggie Huss


As soon as the Little Stars, first and second graders from Wyandot Early Childhood School, enter the cafeteria, they are smiling from ear to ear. Seeing their Big Stars, seniors from East, brightens their day every two weeks. 

“I know how important [Big Star, Little Star] is to the Little Stars. I see the joy on their faces when their Big Stars show up,” a school counselor at Wyandot Early Childhood School Jen Gillum said. “[The seniors] just show up and they are present for that child and I just tell them each time it’s not about bringing a gift. It’s about spending quality time and just showing that you care by showing up.” 

There are many ways the Big Stars spend quality time with their Little Stars. 

“They play games, read books, do an activity and talk with their Little Star,” advisor of Big Star Little Star which is through Hawk Ambassadors Michelle Wilkerson said. 

They do many activities together, but the main focus is that they are spending one on one time with each other. 

“Big Star, Little Star is a program where high school students go to early childhood schools and spend some one on one time with a kid,” East senior and Big Star Aya Darwiche said.

The Big Stars love on their Little Stars in various ways to help them out in any way possible. 

“We all need that help and that boost in our life. We’re all kind of struggling a little bit with our wellness and we’re trying to get out of the cloud of COVID and get back into our routines,” Gillum said. 

She shares that the Little Stars get this push from their Big Stars that are “interested in mentoring and building a relationship with one of our little friends here at Wyandot.” 

Mentoring means being a leader and teaching them new things. 

“We get what we give in life and I know how busy these high school leaders are that come and give up their time to do that consistently over the year,” Gillum said. “I think it really gives something to the Big Stars as well to know that they are contributing and they don’t always know what the child’s needs are.” 

Over the school year, the Big Stars meet with their Little Stars twice each month for 30 minutes to give them the support they need even when it is difficult. 

“I know this year the high school schedule changed, so it made it harder for high schoolers to come and visit us during the day,” Gillum said. “We’re struggling with that a little bit. But, as many high schoolers [volunteer their time], I can place them with a friend that needs them–a Little Star that needs them.” 

Through these struggles, the program was still able to continue and work around the changes that occurred because the members of the program know this is what the Little Stars need. 

“Our teachers need this program as much as the kids do. Some of our kids have a lot of needs and it takes a village to fill those needs,” Gillum said. “So we are really grateful when the Big Stars come over to share their love.”