Changes to senior mentoring attempts to make program more welcoming


Savannah Austin puts together binders for the new senior mentors. Photo by Rachel Larson

Every freshman has been through it: the senior mentoring program. For seven years, the program has been integrating freshmen into high school life and giving them a support system to help them get started.

Back in February, head of the senior mentoring program Ms. Suzie Main wanted to change some of their lessons. Main wanted to update some of the lessons.

“A lot of the lessons we created about eight years ago. It’s weird to think, but they are already out of date,” Main said.

Then in March, Main met with four former senior mentors. They talked about what went well with the program, what did not work well, what needed to be changed, what needed to be added and what needed to be removed.

“It was nice to have that first hand account,” Main said.

Every lesson will now have an activity with it.

“We integrated more games to help [the freshman] communicate better with the senior mentors,” Gunner Hood, one of the former senior mentors said.

One example of a game to help with communication is the human knot; a well known game where all the participants hold hands and have to untangle themselves. The game requires communication between freshmen and seniors, helping the freshman become comfortable with talking to the upperclassmen and other freshmen.

“There will definitely be more activities involving between seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshman,” Hood said

Another objective of the senior mentoring program is to show the freshmen around campus so they are not lost.

“One of my favorite [games] was a picture scavenger hunt where we had to take pictures of things around campus,” Levi Zumpano, another former senior mentor who helped give feedback via email, said.

Other new lessons were talked about with other teachers and the school librarians. Mrs. Patty Golditch, school librarian, offered to teach a lesson to help the freshman learn new research tools. During the lesson, freshman will be taught how to create a folder, how to cite, how to share, and how to email so they are able to do their classwork more efficiently. The objective of the lesson is to give the freshman good online tools to start the new year.

“I feel that students want to do well in their classwork, but they think google is the best way. Google is not the perfect site for research. It is harder to cite material, it’s easier to land of a site that may not be legitimate, and […] I would like to guide them to some research tools,” Mrs. Golditch said.

Research tools like EBSCOhost, Gale and more recently Encyclopedia Britannica online. This new tool has just been acquired this year and will hopefully be incorporated into the lesson. The login information for this website can be found on the library online research databases portion of the Whitney High School homepage.

“There is so much out there,” said Mrs. Golditch, “I am hoping to encourage teachers to give students good tools [to complete assignments].”

The reamped senior mentoring program should make students more connected to each other and provide freshmen with the tools and knowledge they need to get through the first year of high school.