Sadler mentor program goes bilingual

Football Frenzy

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Game changers, or ambassadors, are juniors and seniors at Forest Hills Northern High School who volunteer their time to teach elementary and middle school students about Michael Sadler’s legacy, and how they can leave their own legacies.

This year, they’re teaching the curriculum in a new language: Spanish. 

“It just made sense since we have the ambassadors here, and Ada Vista, the Spanish immersion school, is one of our feeders,” said Forest Hills Northern High School Principal Jon Gregory of expanding the program. 

The students responsible for the Spanish are familiar with the immersion program, since most of them went through it themselves. Their high school teacher, Erin Laurell, is helping them to learn the translated lessons.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for them to use their Spanish for something that benefits someone else,” Laurell said. “That’s why you learn it, to make connections with people out in the world, not to know how to conjugate a verb or drill people on grammar.”

Bailey and Riley Walters are sisters who are excited to use their language skills to pass on lessons of compassion and integrity.

“We’ve spoken it for 12 years, so we know most of the words,” they explained. “It’s just a matter of dealing with the younger kids in Spanish and being able to present in front of them.” 

The program was in a pilot stage last year and is now official after a successful start.

Karen Sadler of the Michael Sadler Foundation led the effort to create the program to honor the values that her son Michael exemplified before his tragic death three years ago.

She hopes to eventually expand the program to other schools so that more children can learn what it means to show integrity and leave a legacy. 

For more on the Michael Sadler Foundation, visit

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