In North East ISD’s Wilderness Oak Elementary School cafeteria, fourth-grader Ben Theesfeld remembered what it was like to be a Kindergartner struggling to open food containers and milk boxes. Ben, like many other fourth-graders, decided to become a member of the Tator Tot Patrol.
Students in the Tater Tot Patrol give up fifteen minutes of their lunchtime to help the Kindergarteners.

“The job is to help them open their food and have a good conversation with them. It’s fun to hear what their day has been all day,” Ben explained. “I have friends in Kindergarten now just from doing this! It just feels good to help them out.”

Assistant Principal Milsi Perez said, “We started it last year as a way to give our fourth graders a way to serve and show their leadership skills in the cafeteria.” Perez continued, “There was one time, a very sweet little boy came into the cafeteria and he was just extra somber that day. One of the Tater Tot Patrols that were assigned to his table went and gave him a hug and helped him open up his food. Then just sat with him for a second and that extra minute of attention, just so that the child knows, ‘I am important and can get help from everyone in the school’ because we are a family,” Perez added.

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