Program turns teens into teachers in Pinellas Co.

- A group of Pinellas County teens are developing valuable leadership skills by teaching younger students. 

FOX 13 News visited Seminole High School students as they taught lessons to a group of Orange Grove Elementary second-graders. The topic was history and the teen teachers used a hands-on approach to deliver their message. 

"I'm going to teach you guys all about the telegraph," Seminole High student Julian Mcduffie told them.

The class was held at Pinellas County's Heritage Village as part of a program through Seminole's Center of Education and Leadership Academy.

"First they had to go out into the woods and chop down trees to get big logs," junior Ally Russo explained.

Ally spoke with FOX 13 News about how the classes benefit the younger and older students.

"It's a good opportunity because it helps them learn and it helps us learn as well," she said.

The program is designed for teens to develop skills to become future teachers and community leaders. Through a teaching method called "Project Basic Learning," teens get a hands-on, interactive approach to learning.

"The kids are getting to have hands-on experience within the curriculum," explained CEL Program Director Danielle Spurgeon.

The program requires high schoolers to plan fun activities and games to help the elementary students understand the lesson.

"Whenever you bring anything hands-on like this, it always helps bring interest to the subject," Julian said.

More than 300 teens are in this leadership program.

"You see leadership roles form out of that, and you see really good personal skills form out of that," Spurgeon said.

The younger students seemed to really enjoy learning from student-teachers, too.

"You get to learn all this stuff that happened from a long time ago, instead of just sitting in the classroom doing work," one second grader said.

More than 75 high schoolers are in the program, working to become the future leaders of Pinellas County and beyond.

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