The incoming Clermont Northeastern freshmen class should find the transition to high school much easier and less frightening this year.
As part of a nationwide mentoring program, CNE contracted with the Indiana based “Kick-Off” organization to train the upperclassmen (junior and senior students) to become mentors to the 2006 incoming freshmen class.
“This is the first year that we have done something like this,” said CNE Assistant Principal Heather Powell. “We have tried similar programs in the past and have had limited success. The students have been very responsive so far and we are hoping that this year will be different.”
Approximately 30 upperclassmen participated in the training day which took place in the CNE library August 15.
According to “Kick-Off” training instructor Ted Wiese, the mentoring program started as a result of the alarming freshmen dropout rates across the country.
“Our research has shown that most freshmen who drop out of high school do so because they feel no connection to anyone or anything at school,” he said to the attentive and enthusiastic CNE junior and senior participants. “The mentor program was designed for upperclassmen to mentor the incoming freshmen so they can feel like they do indeed have somebody at school that they can connect with.”
Every freshmen entering CNE this year will have a mentor. Each of the student mentors (who were chosen based on academic performance and teacher recommendations) will be responsible for four of five freshmen throughout the entire year.
“Today you will be trained to serve as a role model,” said Wiese. “Your job for the school year will be to explain the ropes, show how things are done, set some goals for the academic year, get involved with your assigned students, involve them in extracurricular activities, educate them about the school, including where everything is located, and just make their transition a smooth one.”
The training session consisted of group activities designed to help the mentors understand the importance of making a connection with others and feeling wanted and accepted.
“Losing just one freshmen student is unacceptable,” said Assistant Principal Powell. “The ideas that Ted has presented here today are wonderful, fun, and, across the country, have proven to be a success. We plan on doing this in future years. From this point on, CNE freshmen are going to be in good hands.”
According to Wiese, the nationwide mentoring program is the most effective way to eliminate the disconnectedness that freshmen students feel when they make the transition to high school.
“To be a mentor is to be part of the solution, not to be part of the problem,” Wiese said. “The success rate of this program has been extraordinary; the solution is mentoring.”