New Mentor Program Helps Rockland Freshmen Students Transition to High School

ROCKLAND — Principal John Harrison is pleased to announce that members of Rockland High School’s freshmen class were welcomed to their new school by 23 high school juniors and seniors who are part of a new peer mentoring program.

The Helping Your Peers Excel (HYPE) program consists of junior and senior mentors who volunteered to help ease their freshmen mentees into high school. On Aug. 21, mentors and mentees attended the Freshmen Open House where freshmen met their mentors and accompanied them on a tour of the building.

“We wanted to provide a sort of bridge between junior and senior high so that people could have a familiar face when they enter their freshman year,” said Adrienne Donovan, Family Consumer Science teacher and faculty adviser to the mentor program.

During the school year, mentors will check in with their assigned freshmen once per month and make themselves available to help their freshmen mentees who have questions or issues. They are also encouraged to have informal conversations with their freshmen and create a friendship with them to make them feel welcome.

“The freshmen mentoring program is an opportunity for us to create a more supportive community where our upperclassmen are looking after their younger classmates,” Principal Harrison said. “My hope for the program is that each freshman feels connected to an upperclassman student.”

The mentors were selected after an in-depth application process. They attended a training program on Aug. 14 where they learned what they should expect from their participation in the program and went through scenarios to practice and improve their leadership skills.

The program has already received a positive response from the senior mentors who say it has taught them to be better leaders, helped them make personal connections with other students and allowed them to share their experiences and advice with younger students.

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