WHEATFIELD — We’ve all experienced a point in life when we need someone to talk to. For freshmen in high school, it can be essential to the success of their high school career. The Freshman Focus program at Kankakee Valley High School has proven to make a big difference for freshmen for their overall high school experience. Polly Franklin, a Freshman Focus Mentor Advisor, answered a few questions about the insights of the program. Her own personal experience as an advisor is one to be admired.
A freshman mentor class consists of about 20-25 students, and juniors and seniors that act as “mentors” to the ninth graders within these classes. To become a mentor, one has to go through a lengthy process to determine if the student is the right fit to guide the freshmen on the right path.
The process consists of an application, observing grades, making sure attendance is up to par, and lastly an interview to determine if the student is the right candidate for the position. A student might be asked, “How would you help your freshman with said problem?” or “What are obstacles that you have had to overcome?” These freshman mentors help the younger students by checking their grades, offering help, and letting them explore new things within the school.
Franklin, the Freshman Focus Mentor Facilitator, has been working with freshmen and mentors for nine years. Her job is to make sure everyone stays on task, and on track. To plan and make sure everything goes right, the freshmen mentors and advisors have a meeting once a month to discuss activities and make a plan.
The first Friday of every month, the students and teacher converse about the upcoming activities. As of now, there is a weekly schedule set for the students and their activities.
Franklin, who in high school felt as though she wishes she could’ve had a program like this, says, “I almost got sick to my stomach every time I saw the high school.”
Nervousness can be prevalent in a lot of situations, especially for a person entering a whole new territory for the first time. Being a student in a school with many new faces can be frightening, especially if you feel you’re going to get lost if you make one wrong turn in a hallway. Through the Freshman Mentor program, students can have an outlet to communicate, learn, and talk to someone without the fear of judgment.