Nov. 10, 2021
Freshman Field Day returns
Following a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Upper St. Clair High School mentor program hosted its 13th annual Freshman Field Day event on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the high school stadium. The event was led by a team of four seniors, who serve as super mentors – Sarah Christensen, Felipe Mola Curi, Molly Maher and Stephanie Spina.
In addition to providing a fun event, the purpose of Freshman Field Day is to build and strengthen relationships among the ninth graders. Mentors, assigned to freshman homerooms, served as coaches and cheerleaders to their mentees during each activity.
“Field Day is a great bonding opportunity for mentors and mentees, as well as students new to the district. It’s fun and carefree – a good way to end a stressful week,” Molly Maher said. “There’s also a spirit of competition that brings teammates together in ways that the monotony of homeroom everyday cannot.”
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, dizzy bat, relay race, railroad relay, pipeline races, blind-folded dodgeball and others. A team of approximately 25 senior mentors coordinated each of the competitive stations.
For Stephanie Spina, a highlight of the event is simply the excitement and enthusiasm of all of the students.
“After not being able to host field day last year, it is so refreshing to see everyone out here having fun,” she said. “Field Day is such an awesome event for freshmen to bond with their mentors outside of the classroom, and I love seeing all of the spirit out here on the field!”
This year’s team themes included Valentine’s Vampires, Junko’s Smurfs, Erwin’s Easter Bunnies, Red Robbibaro, Shef’s Chefs, and Lee’s Leprechauns. Winners of best costume were Colella’s Criminals, winners of best spirit were Watson’s Winners, and the overall winners were Erbrecht’s Little Es.
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.
For Sarah Christensen, the impact of Freshmen Field Day and the mentoring program is far-reaching and impacts students’ overall transition to high school.
“It's so important to build relationships with everyone in the school,” Sarah said. “One of my favorite parts of the mentoring program is getting to make connections with people in different grades. Having someone to look up to and give you advice when you're a freshman is refreshing and welcoming when going to a new school.”
Most students can empathize with being nervous and anxious about the transition to high school. The mentor program helps to ease those feelings.
“It is so important for freshmen to have a tightly knit community as a homeroom because it allows for a better start for their day,” Felipe Mola Curi said. “These team-building exercises allow for the freshmen to build strong relationships with each other, their junior mentors, and even homeroom teachers.”
The four super mentors work collaboratively with their faculty advisors: Maureen Chermak, learning support teacher; Mike Funfar, mathematics teacher; Amanda Haas, mathematics teacher; and Tom Marquis, school counselor.