Community mentors THS freshmen on report cards
Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – Thompson High School freshman Jairelle Johnson was all smiles after leaving her brief mentoring session at a table in the school’s freshman building on March 22.
“It went great,” Johnson said. “I think this is really great. It gives you a perspective of what is good for you and what you may need to work on.”
Her peer, Camille Horn, was in a similar situation.
“This is the third time I’ve done this, and I think it’s good,” Horn said after her mentoring session. “It’s a good skill to learn.”
Throughout the day, all THS freshmen utilized their English periods to meet one-on-one with a member of the community who donated their time to provide feedback on the students’ work so far this year.
During each mentoring session, the volunteers sat down with the students, reviewed their recently released report cards and provided feedback.
The volunteers included individuals ranging from the city’s police chief, mayor and city manager to Alabaster City Schools central office employees and members of the community.
Last year, the school held mentoring sessions for about half of the school’s freshman class, and expanded it to the entire class this year, said ACS Graduation Coach Marsha Roach.
“We meet with all kids from failing to 4.0,” said Roach, who has worked to organize the event the past two years. “We have learned that kids that start out ninth grade on track are less likely to drop out later.
“A lot of kids say they don’t have anyone at home who asks about their report cards. We want them to know there are adults who care about them and what they are doing.”
Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said he saw plenty of stellar grades throughout the day, and said students often opened up about other aspects of their lives.
“I’ve enjoyed talking to the kids,” Rigney said. “We talk about what’s going on not only at school, but what’s going on in their lives. I’ve talked with several students about what they are doing for spring break next week.”
Roach said the school is looking to expand the program to 10th grade next year.
“What a difference this is making for these students,” said ACS Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. “I want to thank the volunteers, Mrs. Roach and (THS Assistant Principal) Angela McKnight for making this a reality. This is a valuable experience for our students.”