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Young students have 'guardian angels' to watch over them

Arkansas' Catholic schools provide older students to serve as role models to youngsters

Published: October 12, 2021   
Aprille Hanson Spivey
Alejandro Haislop-Rodriguez, an eighth grade student at Christ the King School in Little Rock, pins a guardian angel on second grader Campbell Hendrix during the Oct. 1 school Mass. The special ceremony recognizes the school’s Guardian Angel program, which pairs eighth grade “guardian angels,” or mentors, with second grade students.

Students in at least three Catholic schools in Arkansas model what it means to be a guardian angel, as role models for younger students. 

At Immaculate Heart of Mary School in North Little Rock (Marche), the Guardian Angel program has been a tradition, with Mary Loyd, director of religious education, organizing the program for the past 17 years. The “mini angels” in pre-K through first grade students are matched with a “guardian angel” from fifth grade to eighth grade. The pairs work on projects, attend school Masses and learn about their faith together as a way to welcome new students. During the special Guardian Angel Mass where they receive guardian angel pins, this year on Oct. 8, the guardian angel writes about their mini angel and introduces them to the congregation. 

“They tell what their hopes would be for the student as they grow older, and it’s directed a lot toward what they want for their faith life in the future,” Loyd said. “It teaches them that they are welcomed by not only their guardian angel, but by the school.” 

Our Lady of the Holy Souls in Little Rock also has a Guardian Angel program, pairing their second- and seventh-grade students, culminating in a guardian angel pinning Mass, Oct. 1, said principal Amber Bagby. 

“It teaches them that they are welcomed by not only their guardian angel, but by the school.” - Mary Loyd, director of religious education at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in North Little Rock (Marche).

Christ the King School in Little Rock began its Guardian Angel program when the school opened in 1986. Second-grade students are paired with eighth-graders. They were called to the front of the altar to receive their angel pins during a special Mass Oct. 1. 

“We teach the kids about angels and how they protect us,” House said. “The eighth-grade students take their responsibility of being a good example very seriously.” 

The eighth-graders also plan activities with their younger buddies throughout the year, including an Easter egg hunt and supporting each other at First Communion and the eighth-grade graduation. 

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