By MICHELLE BROOKS
RUSSELLVILLE - One day Faith Shull hopes to be a music teacher.
So it seemed natural when the preschool class, where she has been cadet teaching, was looking at the letter "G" that she bring in her guitar.
She quickly taught herself "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" so she could play something the little ones recognized.
"It's neat what A+ students can contribute and bring in extra," said preschool teacher Ann Brennecke.
Brennecke is among 21 seniors - that's more than half of the class - at Cole County R-I High School participating in the A+ program.
The A+ scholarship program is managed by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The two-year public community colleges, technical colleges and some private two-year colleges are eligible.
Students must attend a high school with an A+ program for three years, graduate with a 2.5 grade point average or higher, have a 95 percent attendance rate during four years, and maintain good citizenship and a clean record.
The Russellville schools added the A+ program in 2009. Their cadet teaching program helps A+ candidates fulfill the required 50 hours of unpaid tutoring.
"The A+ program has been a great benefit for both the teachers and students," said counselor Brent Mettlen. "Teachers have an extra helper and many of the elementary-aged students look up to the high school mentors.
"So it is a nice program for all involved."
In the preschool class of 15, Shull and other cadet teachers bring an extra pair of hands and ears to provide one-on-one help, Brennecke said.
She and her paraprofessional Lyndsay Ludy stay busy keeping up with lessons and interests within the daily routine.
"It's not quantity of time; it's quality - that little extra, especially if someone's having a bad day," Brennecke said.
In the sixth-grade English classroom, senior Sue Engelage loves working with the preteens.
"I try to be a good role model," Engelage said. "I know middle school is hard; they're learning who they are."
Although her intended college major is digital media, Engelage said she enjoys working with children.
"There are little things that save time when they can jump in and do it," Brennecke said. "They really earn that scholarship."
Shull and Engelage agree what they have learned most from this experience is patience.
"I didn't think I'd be good with little kids," Shull said. "But they seem to like me.
As the seniors look to graduation, "it's cool they can give back where they started," Brennecke said.
"I mostly did this for the scholarship money," Shull said. "I didn't know I would get so attached. It will be hard to leave."