by Lucie Roy
Members of the Morinville Community High School (MCHS) Mentorship Program gathered at lunch Wednesday with MCHS Counsellor Mrs. Laurie McCurdy to reminisce of their year as mentors.
The eight students were mentors to Primeau Grade 5-7 students. The mentor and mentees were assigned by Mrs. McCurdy and met at noon at MCHS. Mentorship is as a group and all the activities and games are done as a group but they do have individual partners they build strong bonds with.
“The mentors and mentees came for lunch and socialized together,” McCurdy said. “They concentrated more on the social skills this year and less on paperwork. Last year they did the paperwork and maybe next year a little more paperwork but wanted to do it differently this year. The mentees watching the mentors and how you responded to questions and games gave them the courage to do it, like the beefs and bouquets, listening to you guys made it easier for them to reply and open up to.”
There is no maximum number of mentors at the school, it is whoever comes and they go through training.
Four of the mentors will be graduating this year and moving on and others who have been mentoring have all expressed an interest to continue with the Program.
The program started in October and ended last week and McCurdy said it will be provided again next year. She went on to say to the mentors, “that Mr. Hinks and Mr. Michael were both very impressed with the banner and other things around the school. Just an important thing to have in school and how important it is to the younger students coming out to the lunch and the difference you make to them. You talk to them and learn things about them and they learn things about you and feel comfortable and look forward to this. Some do not really have a lot of friends so it is very important.
Mentor Amy Van Brabant said, “I heard about the program and thought it was a great thing to get involved with and it seemed it would have a positive effect on younger kids in our community.” She mentioned it went very well with her and her mentee.
Shaelyn Durocher said, “I have she actually has been doing programs like this since Grade 5. That was her first ever lunch-time mentorship program. Best part is many; we did so much fun stuff. Getting to know the girl I worked with was the best. I worked with her for two years, just the progression from my first year with her to the second.”
Spence Greaves likes to be there for them and being a friend for them. This was his first year as a mentor and his best memories are of all of them playing games. McCurdy said it was really neat to have a male mentor in the group. It brings a difference.
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Ashley Oloske said this is her first year of mentoring at MCHS but four altogether as a mentor. She has been a mentor since Grade 7.
McCurdy said they have been busy putting on a year-end picnic and put on a Christmas celebration and did it all on their own for the mentors and mentees. They planned it, organized it sent out emails and contacts and all.
Emma Van Brabant said, ‘It is a really cool experience. Have the kids grow and how they would open up more as the year progressed. At the beginning of the year the girl I had she is really quiet and did not say a lot but last week at the picnic she was really happy and excited and she was talking to everyone. Really nice. Yes, I would like to do it again next year.”
Kayla Oloske said this was her first year as mentor at MCHS. “Very positive for me and the kid. It was something I would look forward to that day. I liked the way our leaders worked together to ensure it was successful and best experience.”
Kaitlyn Kasha said, “This is my second year and I have had the same mentee both years. She actually requested me this year. That was kind of cute. I thought it was a really good program to come into. It was fun. I had a blast. They are all super quiet at the beginning then they get out of their shell.”
Some of the mentors expressed it was nice to see the mentees make friendship out of it. They did not know how to be social with one another. They hid behind the security of the lap top. They made them close the lap op or whatever and it was that unknown realm of how do I have a conversation and at the end we were all talking over each other and trying to talk over one another. What started as a conversation of mentor to mentee then melted together as a group.