Redesigned peer mentor program begins to take shape
Imagine walking into the brand new high school, not knowing where you are going. Which way is the language section? Is math on the first or second floor? A student’s first year at Wayland High School can be daunting, so this year, there is a redesigned peer mentor program that will guide freshmen and transfer students through their first year at WHS.
The altered program has been changed so not only do the mentees get paired up with upperclass mentors, but also so that the mentors and mentees can interact more often. This way, mentors will be able to guide their mentees more effectively.
In the past, mentees would meet their mentors on Orientation Day, and mentors and mentees often never touched base again. Seniors Larry Guo and Mary Downs, who are this year’s student leaders of the program, wish the program had been more interactive for them.
“Mary and I remember our freshman experiences, and our peer mentors didn’t really do much. I think I was contacted by mine once, and then I never spoke to them again, so we’re trying to be more involved,” Guo said.
In order to build a stronger relationship between the mentors and mentees, the participants of the peer mentorship program will meet once a month at least through February. During these meetings, the mentors will answer the mentees’s questions about high school, and the mentors and mentees will also participate in activities to get to know each other better.
The first meeting took place on Wednesday, September 19.
“We played a game on Wednesday that was really fun called Two Truths and a Lie,” freshman mentee Jack Peebles said.
Although many mentees find the meetings fun, others with older siblings who can guide them through Wayland High School find these meetings less effective.
“It’s kind of fun because my peer mentor is really funny, but I don’t really feel it’s necessary to do the after school Wednesday get-togethers,” freshman Ethan Stavisky said. “Also, I have a sister [who goes to Wayland High School] so I don’t really need my questions to be answered by my peer mentor because I don’t really have any.”
Many mentees enjoy having someone they can relate to as a peer mentor.
“If you need to go and ask someone a question that a teacher wouldn’t know or you wouldn’t want to talk to a teacher about, you can ask your peer mentor,” freshman Dan Hochberger said.
“Yeah it’s fun,” freshman mentee Whitney Petterson said. “I like my peer mentor. She’s really nice, and it’s helpful because she’s another person who has already been a freshman and knows what I’m talking about when I’m confused.”
Some mentors and mentees were matched up based on a common interest. Peebles plans on joining WHS’s swim team this winter, which his mentor, Scott Becker, is also a part of.
“We will be on the same swim team. It’s great, Scott is a really nice guy, and it’s nice to have an upperclassman there for me,” Peebles said.
The next meeting will be held on October 24. Future meetings will include advice on studying for midterms and other topics that will continue to guide the freshmen through their first year in high school.
Jennifer Mast, a guidance counselor who helps run the peer mentorship program, said she hopes mentors recognize the importance of their role and expressed her hopes that this program will help bring the WHS community together.
“We are all working toward a common goal of helping our new students feel part of this amazing community. The mentor program is one piece of this large goal,” Mast said.