Senior mentor class changes vision for 2020-21 school year


In February, students began signing up for next year’s classes. At Course Preview Day Jan. 31, they were able to learn about one class that changed drastically: senior mentoring. Photo by Grace Chang.

Whenever Danielle DuPont entered Mr. Dan Parker’s second period geography class, she always met with her senior mentor to do activities, discuss material and ask questions. Throughout the first semester, DuPont and every other freshman had this experience with an older friend but starting the second half of the year, their mentors were no longer present in class.

This won’t be the case anymore. Senior mentoring is becoming a year-long class, and this is only one of several changes coming to the program.

Senior mentors will still work with freshman [level] classes, but they will be more academically focused and will be in other classes besides geography [like Integrated I, Language Arts I, Spanish I, and Health],” Principal Mr. Justin Cutts said.

Further changes may occur, Cutts said, based on a committee of students and staff meeting this spring to look into the program.

However, besides these changes, certain aspects like SHOUT will remain the same. SHOUT is a program that takes place in August during freshman orientation, at which mentors provide tours around campus and lead games.

Senior mentors will also continue to establish the campus culture and play a positive role in freshmen’s lives. Due to the experiences they previously had with their own mentors, some juniors are currently hoping to have the same impact on their younger peers.

“I loved my senior mentor, and I think it really helps freshmen to feel like they have an older person that’s there for them. That can help them through the transition between middle school and high school because they are so different,” Emma Dandeneau said.

Others are taking advantage of the new changes to obtain a greater role. Due to the new tutoring aspect of the class, future mentors like Arvind Srinivasan can assist freshmen in subjects other than geography like math.

“I decided to take this class at the start of my junior year. I like the changes that are happening to the program because we can help the freshmen more. Otherwise, we had a very limited role, as it was only a semester long,” Srinivasan said.

Even current freshmen like DuPont believe the new changes will bring about benefits.

“I would have it be all year, because not only did our senior mentors help us, but they were fun to do the activities with and bond with,” DuPont said.

On the other hand, some students have decided against taking the class due to the changes.

“I don’t like the changes they made to the whole class like making it last the whole year. Also, I chose to try and apply for leadership next year over senior mentoring because I think I’ll be able to have a bigger impact on the school in that class and I’ll probably enjoy it more,” Daya  Khunkhun said.

Other students chose not to take it because the information was unclear; for example, some believed the course was eliminated completely.

“I thought they took it out, to be honest. I didn’t think that Distinguished Scholar really meant much in college apps too; plus it brings my GPA down. But if it was an option and I was talked to it I might’ve taken it,” Nathan Dinh said.

The new changes to the senior mentoring program will take place in 2020-21 school year.