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November 15, 2012

Mentor program fosters academic, personal growth

Cooperstown Central School recently kicked off its annual mentor program where high schoolers take middle schoolers under their wings. 

“I’m looking forward to getting more knowledge, my mentor helps me study,” seventh-grader Leslie Boyles said. 

According to Boyles, the mentor program is also helping her meet new people and enables her to spend more time with older students. 

“I see my mentor as like an older sister,” Boyles explained. “I spend time with her every other day. When I have lunch she has art, so I go in and work on projects and talk with her then.”

The program has 39 mentors and is coordinated by Shannon Merwin. The high school students are intensively trained on the campus of the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill. Activities included in mentoring but not limited to are: Daily journaling between mentor and mentee, ice-breaker activities after school, homework help and peer encouragement and support. 

According to CCS counselor Katie Baldo, the mentor program is financially and professionally supported through the district’s participation in College for Every Student. CFES is a nonprofit organization committed to raising the academic aspirations and performance of today’s youth so that they can prepare for, gain access to and succeed in college. Baldo said The Clark Foundation has generously afforded CCS and other local districts the opportunity to reap the benefits of such an organization. 

Mentorship is one of three practices that are essential to the CFES’ mission, according to Baldo. She said the other two practices include leadership through service and pathways to college. 

“The service component is met through our mentor program and we have a comprehensive career/college model, K-12, that lends itself to pathways to college. The culminating event of our pathways to college initiative is providing all of our fifth-, eighth- and 10th-grade students an opportunity to visit a college campus every year,” Baldo said. 

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