READING for OTHERS: St. Peter 7th grader works daily with pre-k students

Published 12:15 am Saturday, February 4, 2017

RESERVE — If you want to see Jacob Duhon’s face light up with a smile, all you have to do is ask him about his daily reading to the younger students at St. Peter Catholic School in Reserve.

It certainly is no chore for the seventh grader, who spends his mornings reading to the pre-kindergarten students while the teachers perform other tasks to prepare for their day.

“I get here at about 6:45 in the morning and the teacher needs help because sometimes she gets little kids and also she has things she needs to do,” said the 12-year-old Duhon. “Sometimes I’ll go back there and do all the things she needs and I also help her throughout the day.”

Jacob said it’s his favorite thing.

“I love the smiles on their faces when they listen to all the stories that I read and I help them to learn a little bit, because sometimes they don’t know the words.”

St. Peter’s teachers offer a long list of tasks Jacob performs every day, including preparing the morning snack, updating the school calendar, putting away school supplies and cutting out arts and crafts. He also has the responsibility of unlocking the preschool gate every morning and leads the student body in morning assembly.

St. Peter principal Marie Comeaux said Jacob is one of the school’s outstanding students.

“He’s very patient with the little ones,” Comeaux said. “He guides the children in play, reads to them and cleans up numerous morning spills. Dealing with a 2-year-old requires a lot of patience. Jacob shows this quality every day. (He) teaches even the smallest St. Peter student by example.”

He also is president of the Beta and 4H clubs, plays flag football and basketball. An honor roll student, he was the Student of the Year as a fifth grader.

“I had high academic grades and also I helped a lot of people,” he said. “It was a great accomplishment for me. I had to make a big binder about all the things I did and all the teachers had to write something about me. They were all very nice and I appreciate that.”

His favorite subjects, he said, are science and math.

“I like science because there is something new every day that you can learn,” he said. “And I like math because, you can’t have science without math.”

Although he might have a bit of a teaching gene in him, he said he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up.

“I like space,” he said.

Jacob said his love for reading comes from his parents, Damian and Rebecca Duhon.

“They did that for me when I was little,” he said. “I love to read, and my parents did the same thing.”

He’s also helping pass that love along to his younger siblings.

“By helping out at this school I can also learn how to help my parents with them because sometimes, it’s trouble — especially with my sister,” he said.