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Making Connections

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Making Connections

Mary Hammarlund, Staff Writer

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The first day of school can be a scary time, especially if you are a new freshman. Many incoming freshmen fear starting high school because they don’t know what to expect. When everything seems different when compared to what one is used to, it is only natural to be nervous. To address these fears, a group of twenty-seven Connections mentors dedicated their first day to helping the new students adjust to their starting their high school career.

 

Connections is a program designed to help incoming freshmen adjust to high school. Through activities that are connected to high school in some way, the freshmen learn what to expect in high school. The students were assigned a mentor to help them find their classrooms, asks questions to form connections with their students, and addresses the fears of the students. The mentors continued to help the Class of 2021 in the days following the first day of school.

 

The mentors, ranging from tenth to twelfth grade, were chosen through an application and interview process. After being chosen, they trained for two days in August, in order to learn the skills needed to help their groups adjust, and get familiarized with the activities they would do with their groups. Mentors wore yellow tie dye shirts for the first two days of school so the freshmen knew that they could come to them if they had questions or concerns.

 

Owen Luedtke, a member of the freshman class, has stated that the program helped him to find his way in high school and meet new people. “I think it really did help me adjust to high school because it showed me the layout of the school, and I met people I can trust,” Luedtke said.

 

“Connections helped me get around. If it weren’t for the Connections mentors showing me around, I never would’ve found my classes. I would’ve gotten lost,” says Jayden Brown, another member of the freshman class.

 

The first day of school was not only fun for the Class of 2021, but it was fun for the mentors, as well. Arnu Phonnachit, one of the mentors, stated that he had a great time getting to know his mentees. “It was a fun time. I got to know a lot about my mentees and they told me that they learned a lot,” Phonnachit said.

 

Andrew Jagow, one of the five teachers in charge of Connections, agrees that the program was helpful for the newcomers. He also commented on how great he felt the mentors did. “I feel Connections is an excellent program that is constantly evolving to ensure safe passage from the middle school to the high school,” Jagow said.  “I am especially proud of how our mentors demonstrate leadership and vulnerability to make this experience memorable for the freshman. I felt that this incoming class showed a great deal of engagement and enthusiasm for the process, but that may be a product of our amazing group of mentors!”

 

Everyone involved in the program, whether they are a freshman, a teacher, or a mentor, made the first day of school a special day that the Class of 2021 will remember forever.

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