Uniquely Indian Hill: Student-artists and student-athletes perform before a new ‘home’ audience

IHPS Reading Programs

Within the Indian Hill School District, the journey down Drake Road through the Village of Indian Hill is significant. During their K-12 learning experience, students start at one end where Indian Hill Primary School (IHPS) is located, and advance down the two-lane, tree-lined road until they reach Indian Hill High School (IHHS).

“In terms of both proximity and emotion, our district enjoys a close campus,” said Indian Hill Primary School Principal Dr. Erin Owens. 

Dr. Owens should know.

For four years, she has watched her IHPS second-grade classes make close connections with visiting IHHS student-athletes through a partnership with 2nd and 7 Foundation. The nonprofit organization provides books to second-grade students across the country and encourages high school student-athletes to serve as role models as guest readers. 

“Our faculty and staff who educate our kindergarten, first, and second grade students, welcome the high school students back to campus with open arms and sincere smiles – because many taught them when they were students in our building,” said Dr. Owens. “We continue to celebrate their achievements as they advance in their educational journey, graduate, and go out to make their mark in the world.”

This school year, the two buildings worked to bridge the distance between younger and older students even more, partnering with the Indian Hill PTO to start 1st Row, a similar celebration of reading with first-grade students mentored by high school student-artists.

“This new program is a wonderful expansion on what began with 2nd and 7 Foundation; 1st Row is an amazing opportunity for our high school student-artists to pay it forward, to share with our youngest students their passion for the arts through their additional love of literacy,” said Indian Hill Arts and Activities Director Amy Clark. “Through the generosity of the Indian Hill PTO, each first-grade homeroom was gifted with six book titles for the meetings. Each book has a subject matter surrounding various aspects of the arts, both performing and visual, and a positive message that can bring together our oldest and youngest Braves.”

A total of 347 IHPS first- and second-grade students will benefit through the mentorship of 32 IHHS student-athletes and student-artists during 12 total meetings this school year.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to invite our friends from the high school down to lead work with our youngest Braves we can’t pass on it,” said Indian Hill Primary School Assistant Principal Andy Gruber. “Through engaging read-aloud presentations, our high school students get the chance to promote their passion for both athletics and the arts with peers whose journey on Drake Road has just begun.”

“It is special,” said Indian Hill High School Principal Jeff Damadeo. “This bond we feel within our campus all along the K-12 educational journey is something we embrace. Like so many magical moments within our district, these programs accentuate something that is simply uniquely Indian Hill.”

Photo caption: This school year, 347 IHPS first- and second-grade students will benefit through the mentorship of 32 IHHS student-athletes and student-artists during 12 total meetings centered on developing a love for literacy, the arts, and athletics.