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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • High school mentors welcome new students

  • Although classes won't start until Monday, freshmen and other new students had the chance to start acclimating themselves to Leavenworth High School on Friday morning.
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  • Although classes won't start until Monday, freshmen and other new students had the chance to start acclimating themselves to Leavenworth High School on Friday morning.
    The new students were welcomed Friday by members of the school's Pioneer Mentoring Program. And, mentors will continue to assist members of the freshmen class during the upcoming semester.
    "I wish I would have had (the program) my freshman year," senior Joshua Alexander said.
    He and senior Mahogani Gant are co-presidents of the program.
    Gant said the program is designed to help students become comfortable with their new high school setting and make them feel at home.
    Alexander said Friday's orientation helped new students get to know the high school before the school year starts.
    About 50 students are serving as mentors this year. The mentors had to apply for the program.
    "You have to be going into your junior or senior year," Alexander said.
    Alexander and Gant said the upperclassmen know what it's like for freshmen to make the transition to a new school.
    This is the third year for the Pioneer Mentoring Program.
    Assistant Principal Stacy Cole said school officials talked about starting such a program for several years, and Principal Tom Barry supported establishing it when he came to Leavenworth High School.
    "It really has been an amazing program," Cole said.
    In addition to helping new students, the orientation also alleviates concerns parents may have as their children start a new high school, Cole said.
    "I think it helps puts parents' minds at ease," she said.
    Alexander and Gant said groups of three or four mentors will be paired with 15-20 freshmen during the first semester. They will meet on a regular basis during what is known at the high school as the seminar period.
    "It's built into the schedule," Alexander said.
    The mentors also will host a tailgate barbecue for freshman before a football game. Freshmen will be able to attend the event for free with their mentors.
    Even though the program for freshmen will last for only the first semester, relationships will carry over, Alexander said.

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