Seniors lend hand to freshmen through mentoring program
For a freshman, entering the high school years can be a daunting task.
Luckily for some ninth-graders at Tonganoxie High School, there is some assistance from upperclassmen, thanks to the school's Senior Mentorship Program. A select group of seniors were chosen to help lead the incoming freshmen as they begin studies in their final school in the Tonganoxie school district.
The mentorship program revolves around seniors helping freshmen make a smooth transition from middle school to high school. In doing so, seniors focus on helping freshmen gain organizational skills such as using student planners as well as tutoring in subjects that cause the freshmen trouble.
Along with the seniors in the classroom there is an additional group of seven students called advisers. Shawn Phillips, senior mentorship coordinator, refers to the advisers as “the elite of the elite.”
The advisers help coordinate activities for the freshmen, such as character building, study skills and outside social activities. These seven are well-versed in what it means to be a good student.
Taylor Clark, one of the “elite” seven, said the program helps lay a foundation for students as they start high school.
“I think focusing on the extra-curricular activities and getting the kids involved at a young age is super important,” she said.
The activities planned by these seven are intended to help the freshmen expand their minds and think outside the box while having fun at the same time.
Phillips was appointed as the new coordinator of the mentorship program this year. Phillips teaches freshman science and is head basketball coach at THS.
Phillips said that when THS principal Jamie Carlisle approached him about being the next coordinator, his immediate reaction was “Yes.”
“I am always willing to help out in any way I can,” Phillips said.
Not only is Phillips excited about assisting the underclassmen, but the seniors are, as well.
“I wish I would have had a senior mentor when I was a freshman,” said Chelsea Kennedy, another senior mentor. “I feel like I would have done better in school that way.”
— Lauren Hughes is a Tonganoxie High School senior completing an internship at The Mirror during the 2011-2012 school year.