Sandwich Learns Together is proud to present an article written by two terrific SHS students about an exemplary program that pairs seniors with freshman as a way to support incoming students during their first year.
By Riley Sorenson & John Cahill – Senior Mentors
What is Freshman Seminar/Senior Mentor?
Freshman Seminar/Senior Mentor is a course offered to all incoming freshmen and all Peer Leaders (Sandwich High School Seniors). While almost 100% of all freshmen take the course, only a select few Peer Leaders get the opportunity to participate. Freshman Seminar (as taken from the Sandwich High School Program of Studies) is, “designed to serve as a platform for all SHS students in the development of 21st century skills in speaking and listening, writing, digital portfolios, college and career pathways, conflict resolution, research and critical thinking and problem solving.”
Freshman Seminar/Senior Mentor stretches much further than a standard curriculum-based course. It’s a class where grades don’t mean everything; an environment where students can comfortably be themselves; and an opportunity to learn and experience more than a traditional class would offer. Freshman Seminar bundles games, life-skills and important high school guidance that provides students with opportunities to grow and prosper. From homework-notebook study days to monthly “check-in” talks when the freshmen are grouped with Senior Mentors of their same gender to discuss current topics in the world around us; the freshman are exposed to various perspectives offered by the knowledgeable seniors.
Who are the Senior Mentors?
Becoming a Senior Mentor is a rigorous process and performance standards are high. The seniors offer a positive role model that the freshman can relate to and trust with real-life situations. Throughout the year, seniors are tasked with the responsibility to assist implementing the class, relying solely on the team-work and attention of fellow seniors and the class teacher.
Freshman Seminar offers not only a positive experience for the freshman, but also for the seniors and teachers, as well. The class has grown in the past four years and has developed into the influential class it is today. It will continue to grow and improve; it is causing a healthy change in freshman academic performance, declining discipline issues and increasing involvement with school activities.