“Being a mentor is rewarding and allows me to make a difference in these students lives,” said Sharon Cook, Willsboro resident and mentor at Willsboro Central School.
Cook joined other community mentors, along with their high school mentees at the CFES Center in Essex, NY on June 23rd to celebrate gains made throughout the school year through the College For Every Student program.
“In September, my mentor made it very clear that I had to start preparing for college,” said Zach Pierson, a junior at Willsboro. “Before our meetings, I never thought about college beyond the fact that I wanted to attend. My mentor pointed out that there was a lot to consider, like course of study, paying for college, types of college, and locations.”
Developed as part of their CFES program, Willsboro has found success over the last six years with its community mentor program that matches every junior and senior with a vetted community member to students along their pathway to college and the workforce.
“Part of being a good mentor is accepting student decisions,” said Christine Benedict, a community mentor for three years. “I have five mentees and my goal is to make sure that each one of them have a plan when they walk out those doors after high school graduation.”
Students at the gathering spoke about the positive relationships formed with their mentors, their appreciation for their mentors’ guidance and support.
“Having a mentor is great because it makes me accountable. I know that he is going to ask me about my grades when we meet,” laughed 11th grader Fred Knickerbocker, who plans to pursue graphic design.
“Through my mentor’s guidance, I’ve learned that I would like to be a physical education teacher or an athletic trainer and what I need to do to make that happen,” said 11th grader Zach Pierson.
Mentor Susan Bacot-Davis added, “Our mentees have so much potential. I’m there to simply help them transition to college or whatever the next phase in their lives may be.”
“This program has been tremendously helpful to me. I’m so thankful for all my mentor has done for me,” said Geordie Hearn who will attend the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam this fall.
College For Every Student (CFES) is a global leader in helping low-income students get to and through college, ready to enter the workforce. CFES currently supports 20,000 students through partnerships with 200 rural and urban K-12 schools and districts in 27 states and Ireland. www.collegefes.org
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