Mentorship programs strengthen bonds between high school, junior high
Brother to Brother and Sister to Sister, begins each year with applications completed by high school and junior high students. Advisors of the mentorship programs oversee activities including on and off campus lunches.
Terry Richards oversees Brother to Brother and developed a passion for it over the years. According to Richards, the way the the high schoolers and junior highers behaved toward each other was much different than it seems now.
“I think it has been very valuable to the boys,” Richards said. “Actually more than I thought it would. When I first came to the school, the high school guys picked on the junior high guys. They harassed them, they threw them in the trash cans and other things like that.”
According to Richards, the school does not see any serious problems between the high school and junior high students since the program’s inception eight years ago. Richards shares the impact of the program on junior to high school student relations.
“I think what it was is that the high schoolers realized that they had a responsibility,” Richards said, “older guy to younger guy. They wanted to fulfill that responsibility that they felt, and they didn’t want to have the younger guy think badly of them.”
Recently, Katie Reneau, who oversaw the Sister to Sister program last year, has transitioned to the position of elementary principal. Reneau believes that the older students help the younger ones get through their 7th and 8th grade years.
“I think we’ve got a few who just really want to serve others,” Reneau said. “They went through the program and saw the value of it. It was a great opportunity for them, and they want to invest in that again. ‘Hey, someone did this for me. I want to give back and do this for someone else.’”
With Reneau unable to lead Sister to Sister in her new position, she sought out a new leader. Cheer coach Hope Villines offered to take the responsibility of overseeing the program. Villines works with junior high and high school cheer squads and expresses her excitement for the new opportunity.
“Junior high and high school is actually the age group I love to work with the most,” Villines said. “More importantly, I feel it is our responsibility to to teach our older girls to pour into the younger girls. It’s always been something that’s been on my heart… I’m really blessed to be part of it.”
Students involved in the Brother to Brother and Sister to Sister programs anticipate meeting their new ‘siblings’ for the year. High school students learn more about their junior high partner during on and off campus lunches.
Carson Ochs, ‘21, participates in Brother to Brother the last two years, once as a younger and once as a older brother. Ochs is excited to begin his third year.
“One of the reasons I joined is that I wanted to bond with a younger guy and help him in his life,” Ochs said. “I would definitely recommend it. I really think that you can learn a lot from your brother and he can learn a lot from you. I had a great time working with him”
Junior Annabelle Messer believes that more girls should get involved in Sister to Sister. In the program for two years, Messer enjoyed it her sophomore year, and she plans to continue to participate.
“I enjoy sister to sister because I am able to mentor someone who is younger than me as well as make new friends,” Messer said. “I recommend doing Sister to Sister because of the bond you make with your little sister and you have lots of fun going off campus.”
Richards met with high school brothers for a training session at lunch, Sept. 4. Junior high orientation starts Sept. 18. The brothers will be paired and introduced Sept. 25. Currently no dates have been posted for Sister to Sister.
For more articles, read Choir travels to Cayucos for annual retreat. For more on Brother to Brother and Sister to Sister, read Brother to Brother and Sister to Sister accepting applications.
Brayden Iest can be reached via email.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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