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AROUND THE BEND

Peer Mentoring Program

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Students play "Trainwreck" during Bearblock.

Students play "Trainwreck" during Bearblock.

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A freshman mentoring program launched at the beginning of this year. Called “Fresh Start Mentors,” the program aims to help and guide freshman through their new school in a way that hasn’t been offered to the previous freshmen at Riverbend. All freshman are separated into small groups of 20-30 and are led by groups of mentors. Each mentor has his or her own specific duty: presenting, timekeeping, collecting materials, or taking attendance. Each group of mentors is led by one student lead mentor.
The program was started because freshman year grades are a good predictor for future success. According to research done at the University of Chicago, “More than 95 percent of students with a B average or better in their freshman year graduate. freshmen who earn a B average or better have an 80-percent chance of finishing high school with at least a 3.0 GPA, and freshmen with less than a C average are more likely to drop out than graduate.” Mrs. Bickerstaff, who is in charge of the mentoring program at Riverbend, said, “One of the biggest predictors of overall success in high school is a student’s transition through their 9th grade year. In particular, making connections through relationships with other students (one of our main areas of concentration in the mentor program), and participation in clubs or extracurricular activities are significant factors.” Mentors are encouraged to try to get freshmen to join as many new clubs as possible. The Club Rush gave these students an opportunity during bear-block to view and join some of these clubs.
So far, the mentoring program has been going very well. Bickerstaff said the mentors have offered helpful guidance, while the freshmen have been enthusiastic and cooperative in the process. Freshman TJ Mcdonough said, “It’s really fun and cool.” The future looks bright for the Fresh Start Mentor program.

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