Oct. 19, 2017
USCHS mentors host Freshman Field Day
The Upper St. Clair High School mentor program hosted its ninth annual Freshman Field Day event for ninth graders and their junior mentors on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, at the high school stadium. The event was led by a team of five seniors, who serve as super mentors – Jack Burton, Allison Epler, Drew Hobart, Sophia Kennedy and Zoe Rankin.
“Field day has so much energy! Everyone that’s out here is in the best mood,” Sophia said. “They always say that energy is contagious in the mentoring program and it’s just so true especially right here, right now.”
The morning kicked off with a mentor-mentee breakfast in the nutrition center followed by a variety of team building events including tug of war, a dizzy bat relay race, railroad relay, three-legged race, blind-folded dodge ball and others. Mentors, assigned to freshman homerooms, served as coaches, cheerleaders and supporters to their mentees during each activity. A team of approximately 20 senior mentors coordinated each of the competitive stations.
For Allison, the highlight of the event is seeing the authentic connections among ninth grade classmates and their junior mentors.
“The best part is just watching all the freshmen and junior mentors get to be with one another and have a great time,” Allison said.
Students in grade 11 are eligible to apply to serve as mentors in order to assist freshmen with the transition from middle school to high school. Each freshman homeroom is assigned three to four mentors who provide information, encouragement and support throughout the year. Each year approximately 60 juniors serve as mentors in the program.
“The mentor program is important so that the freshmen can get to know each other and have a junior mentor to be their point person so that they can feel more comfortable at the high school.” Zoe said.
Most students can empathize with being nervous and anxious about the transition to high school. The mentor program hopes to ease those feelings.
“The mentor program is a great way to introduce freshmen to upperclassmen so that it reduces that fear of walking in the halls and not necessarily knowing everyone,” Jack said. “Rather than being intimidated, they have a friend as soon as they come into the high school.”
The five super mentors work collaboratively with their faculty advisors: Tom Marquis, school counselor; Mike Funfar, mathematics teacher; and Amanda Haas, mathematics teacher.
“We help run the program with our amazing advisors Mr. Funfar, Mr. Marquis and Mrs. Haas,” Drew said. “It’s a really rewarding experience to be able to be a super mentor.”