The Mentor Program: Welcoming Freshmen into BHHS

By Olivia Scaglione

Entering high school can be a very frightening time for incoming ninth graders. Luckily, every freshman has a class to help ease the transition into high school. Every morning first period, each and every ninth grader attends mentor class. Their mentor period consists of a class of only freshmen and two senior leaders.

On the first day of school, the freshmen take a tour of the school with their mentors and decipher their complicated schedules. Without any knowledge of the drop day schedule, it can be difficult for new students to understand what class they have to be in at a given time. Starting from the first day of school, the mentors help guide their mentees so they know where to be and when they should be there.

Throughout the semester, the mentor classes play one another in a version of kickball, called yogi-ball. Introduced to the game their freshman year, students will continue this game during their high school careers. Classes compete in hopes of being the winner of mentor yogi-ball—a highly coveted title with a trophy that comes along with it. To stay updated on which class is in the lead, the standings are posted near the 200s hallway. The mentor classes also create t-shirts for their teams. The t-shirts often have funny catchphrases on them that the class comes up with to “intimidate” their opponents. For example, Mr. Allen’s mentor class t-shirts say “All-in it to win it!” Not to mention, the yogi-ball games can get pretty intense! It doesn’t matter if a student is athletic or not; everyone gets involved playing and has lots of fun! Every student encourages their classmates, and it is a great way to foster teamwork among students.

One freshman says, “I wake up and don’t dread class. It’s not boring; it’s fun.” In mentor class, other activities include watching movies and discussing troubles. The mentor classes don’t watch senseless movies but rather movies that teach a life lesson. This allows students to think about different situations in high school and how they would handle them.  Also, if a ninth grader is having a trouble with a certain subject or has an upcoming assessment, their mentors will help them out and reassure him or her.

Mentor is not just an in-school affair. The mentors create group chats and talk to the freshmen frequently outside of school. The mentors follow their students on social media and give their mentees their phone numbers. Therefore, if any trouble arises outside of school, they can access their mentor for advice.

Another activity the mentor classes do is with box questions. This is when the freshmen will ask their mentors any question anonymously by placing it in a box; the mentors have to answer truthfully. This game is a fun way for the freshmen to get to know their mentors and have their questions answered about what their high school experience might be like.

Student seem to truly enjoy their mentor classes and bond with their mentors. Mentors even have inside jokes with their students! Ninth graders may have questions and are afraid or too embarrassed to ask their parents or teachers about but feel comfortable asking their mentors. One mentee says she still has a relationship with her mentor, and her mentor still stays in contact with her even after three years! The mentors are a friendly upperclassmen face in the hallway to incoming freshmen. The mentor program has been successful for many years with helping ninth graders in adapting to the high school, learn teamwork, and encourage their peers.