The Student Newspaper of Washington-Liberty High School

T.H. Kinder

Senior Noah Kline welcomes incoming freshmen with a high five.

Welcome wagon

September 21, 2016

Every year, incoming freshmen are welcomed into high school by Connect Mentors. The mentors help ease nervous students in the transition from middle school to high school by providing support of many forms; from advice on ways to get around the school to Generals Period (GP) aid with school assignments, the Connect Mentors Program was set up to make freshmen’s lives a lot less stressful. In order to continue improving, the program has been working on ways the mentors could be more involved in freshmen’s transition to high school.

The process to become a Connect Mentor is a strict one. With certain deadlines and requirements, the application to become a Connect Mentor can be seen as rigorous in order to find the most dedicated students. “When I first applied two years ago, the process was a lot more lenient,” senior Kathryn Williams said. “Now you have to fill out an application and do an interview which makes it more difficult. The program has become increasingly more selective because more people are applying every year.”

Before school even starts, the Mentors are working hard. Connect Mentors are required to attend training days to prepare for the school year to come. There are full day training days that begin at the end of the previous school year and continue through the summer. “During the full day of training, we welcome new members and get them used to the team activities we’ll do with our mentees,” senior Claire Walker said. “Then during our second meeting, the group that plans the first day of school activities will teach all of the other mentees what kind of questions to be prepared to answer, which places in WL to show the incoming freshmen, and what kind of games to play to get all the students involved.”

Even with dedicated students working with the program, there is always more they seek to improve. Taking advice from past freshmen, the mentors continue to learn how to enhance and improve the program year after year. Most improvement ideas focused around getting the mentors more involved in their mentee’s GPs. “When I was a freshman, the Connect Mentors were helpful,” junior Sam Yarnell said. “However, they could’ve been more helpful had they come to my GP more and been more involved in a week-by-week setting instead of a few times a month.”

Another way the program is looking to improve is through better organization and planning. Though the Mentors will not be moving into freshmen GP’s full time, they plans to have more frequent visits as well. They will also approach activity planning differently this year, splitting into groups that plan GP meetings to be more student-centric. “As a mentor, I’ve struggled with having little time to prepare for meetings with my freshmen mentees,” Walker said. “This year, we’re trying to focus on having every mentor prepared for their meetings with the freshmen.”

Sometimes it is difficult to involve an entire GP in activities and break through to quiet freshmen. However, most freshmen appreciate the effort put forward by Connect Mentors. Freshmen mostly appreciate the amount of knowledge and experience with high school that their mentors are able to share with them. “I remember the Connect Mentors being helpful because they introduced you to a bunch of new things and helped you so that you weren’t confused with everything that was happening,” sophomore Anna Williams said. “I also enjoyed that they helped you to get to know the people in your GP better. That made the process into high school a little more fun.”

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