By Amanda Tuzzo
When many people think about senior year, words like “college,” “fun,” and “senioritis” come to mind. Although the seniors are nearing the end of their high school days, and many feel they can finally take a breather, a handful of seniors must fulfill the responsibilities they have assumed in taking on a leadership position.
As many know, high school can be very difficult if students do not have guidance along the way. This is where the BHHS seniors come into play. In addition to being role models for the students in general, some seniors take on the role in advising the younger students of our community through programs like that of Mentor.
Before school begins, the thought of being a little freshman is quite daunting. Obvious fears of getting lost, not having a seat at lunch, and just being in the presence of seniors become less scary as senior mentors help out. Two senior mentors, a male and a female, are assigned to a classroom of freshmen students for the first semester, giving them support and helpful tips as they transition into high school. These incredible individuals clearly play such an important role in the high school experience of younger students. The question that now remains: how are they chosen?
The mentors are chosen after an application process that takes place junior year. To begin, 11th graders fill out an application form, answering questions regarding their desire to become a mentor and why they believe they deserve the role. When this is complete, these students have a group interview with the head of the mentor program, Mr. Andriello, and several of the other mentor teachers. Next comes a demo lesson, or rather an opportunity for juniors to show their great leadership in front of a class of current freshmen. This lesson is what a typical class in the day of a senior mentor would look like. The applicants are paired up to prepare and present. Teachers observe the lesson and take note of how the applicants perform in this very realistic situation and gain an understanding of what the junior would be like as a senior mentor. Former mentor Olivia Tauber says, “This was probably the scariest part – being in the real scenario of a mentor – but I played it off like it wasn’t and just had fun with it.” After analyzing and discussing with teachers, the most well spoken, outgoing, and overall best role models are chosen to begin as mentors in September.
Another senior leadership position at BHHS is Peer Leader. As a sophomore, students are required to take health. Luckily for the 10th graders, they get the opportunity to spend time with and develop a rapport with a groups of seniors for a second time. In each health class, two to four seniors help teach the class, assisting the teacher by speaking from their own experiences, further explaining their knowledge of what our high school is like in terms of alcohol and drug usage. The seniors help teach about abstaining from illegal activities and how to live a healthy lifestyle. This application begins with two teacher recommendations. The applicant then has to write two essays: one about why he or she believe he or she would make a good peer leader and the second one answering why remaining drug and alcohol-free is important to him or her. This year, a new component was added, requiring a miniature portfolio containing a resume of extracurriculars, demonstrating that applicants would be a good peer leader. Lastly, there is an interview component where each applicant interviews with Mr. Carpenter, more commonly known to students as “Carp.”
Now I’m sure many of you have heard about how notoriously long, hard, and stressful junior year can be. Luckily for juniors taking Regents Chemistry, they have the opportunity to receive extra help from their senior Chemistry Lab and Teaching Assistants (Chem TAs). Along with the teacher, you may have between one and two TAs helping in the classroom. In addition to helping the teacher during class time, the TAs are available for office hours before and/or after school. Juniors who excelled in Honors Chemistry and who take or plan to take AP Chemistry may apply for the role. Again, the process begins with the application essay, explaining why you want the role. Jason Roden, a current junior who applied for the role explained, “I love chemistry and helping others and becoming a TA allows me to pursue both.” There are two final steps when applying for Chemistry TA. Applicants are interviewed about themselves and leadership in general. Lastly, the applicant must present a lesson to Mr. Borneman and the current TAs.
Although the application processes are long and require great work, they are all definitely worth it. The students chosen for these roles are amazing leaders and you can really see why they were chosen for the role. “It makes me happy to know that I have made an impact on freshmen; something that was never given to me four years ago,” says former mentor Ally Tuzzo. These seniors not only help their younger peers but greatly inspire and influence them. Many students who applied for these roles and who have already filled these honorable positions can say it has been one of their best experiences in high school. Knowing that they’ve made an impact on younger individuals is the best way for a senior to leave the BHHS community, moving on to do great things in the future!