MILTON — Milton High School and W.H. Rhodes Elementary school have partnered to offer two programs to elementary school students.

Each Wednesday, the Literacy Honor Society at MHS comes to Rhodes at 9 a.m. to read to fifth-graders. On Thursdays, a group known as Panther Pals comes to the school and assists in any way they can.

The Panther Pals are made up of 42 members of the varsity MHS football team. Dianne Lewis, literacy coach at Rhodes, said the program started in September and the teachers love it.

Lewis said she is friends with Coach Harry Lees’ wife and they came up with the idea last year. When Lewis ran the idea past the administration and the teachers, they approved, so Lewis started planning the program during the summer.

According to Lewis, the football players had to sign a contract about how they will appropriately behave while they are at the elementary school.

When the boys arrive by bus at 12:15 p.m., they go in groups to their designated classrooms. Some groups help with the physical education class, while some go into a first grade-classroom and help students with reading-related tasks. The football players will stay with their designated class for the rest of the semester.

“The teachers love the help,” Lewis said. “When they have to miss, the kids are just devastated.”