A closer look at the mentoring program at WHS
Assistant Copy Editor
September 19, 2021
Senior mentor Mason Weidner yelled in the face of an alphabet-singing freshman. Why? To teach confidence through preparation. I had the opportunity to observe this classroom, as well as two other senior mentoring classrooms, in order to enhance students’ understanding of the senior mentoring program.
Once the freshmen understood that a mentor was going to yell during their singing, they were more prepared and able to continue. This lesson, along with the other lessons taught every other Monday, includes multiple interactive activities patterned throughout a PowerPoint presentation. The intention is to help freshmen grow in character and learn about high school. Maryn Babb (9), a freshman in the program, believes she is benefitting from mentoring.
“In my personal opinion, I think senior mentors are great! I think they help a lot for freshmen because we don’t know anything really about high school and they teach us how to become successful,” Babb said.
From helping freshmen with school-related issues to standing with them through life's obstacles, the relationship between freshmen and their mentors can develop to become strong and personal. Psychology teacher Mr. Joshua Miracle, who is a part of the WHS Wellness Team, said that, to freshmen, their mentors are their rock.
“There was a really hard event in a lot of the freshmen’s lives, and we got to walk through that with them. But, you know, immediately they were asking me to let their mentor know and they wanted them to be part of the process,” Mr. Miracle said.
In another activity, the 9th graders were asked to write down three of their strengths. Although some struggled in doing this, the seniors uplifted them and offered a list of their strengths. However, while mentors can be uplifting, Emmeline Hahn (9) said her mentors mostly interact with each other. Both sides of the program, the seniors and the freshmen, choose how involved they want to be. It’s important to recognize that the impact of mentors vary, and there is a spectrum of how helpful they can be for freshmen.
“I love the idea of mentors. I feel they make the transition from middle to high school a lot smoother and less scary. With that being said, I wouldn’t say I have any personal connection with any of my mentors. They aren’t very extroverted and they mainly interact with each other rather than the freshmen,” Hahn said.
In a different classroom, each of the mentors had some time with a group of freshmen. They then regrouped and did the same confidence exercise mentioned earlier. The seniors noticed the freshman felt uncomfortable singing to the class, and asked if he wanted them to walk to his desk. Ava Boedecker (12) can attest that mentoring hasn’t just helped freshmen, it has made the seniors better people.
“When I’m having to teach the freshmen things that they need to improve on, I have to think about how I can improve because I have to practice what I preach,” Boedecker said.
Ultimately, the Wellness Team at WHS wants the mentoring program to create a culture of respect and love. As Mr. Miracle put it, it’s a way of showing freshmen the type of environment that the school hopes to continue creating.
“One thing I would love the freshmen to take away is how important it is to love those around them… You are so much happier when you are spreading love and kindness rather than negativity and judgment,” Hannah Pensyl (12) said.