BECOME Scholars

Mentor program launches at City High

Emme Perencevich, Opinion, Copy, and Infographic Editor

Established this year at City High, BECOME Scholars is made up of a select group of upperclassmen chosen to mentor students in grades nine and 10. BECOME stands for belief, empowerment, confidence, optimism, motivation, and excellence. Embodying these traits is a goal of both mentors and mentees this year.

Although this is not the first rendition of a mentoring program at City, BECOME Scholars is a new initiative in its pilot year at City High. Mariam Keita ‘20 was involved with previous mentoring programs at City and now is part of the BECOME program.

“There used to be a program called Program Achieve, which was directed towards high-achieving students of color and aimed at getting them the support and resources that they needed to be successful on the path to college,” Keita said.

The mentors were recommended for the program by teachers who felt that they were leaders in their classes. These students then signed up if they were interested in becoming a mentor after attending an informational meeting in the Little Theater.

 “In order to get BECOME Scholars off the ground, there needs to be a group of students interested in answering the call to action,” Keita said.

While this year the mentors consist of only juniors this year, if the program is successful, the same students will be eligible next year. 

“BECOME Scholars was designed using a cyclical two-year model,” explained Keita. “Each year, the previous group of peer buddies (freshmen and sophomores) will also age. Previous buddies in their junior year would then have the option to apply for the peer mentor position and mentor the new incoming class of peer buddies. This will allow the program to continue building off of the momentum of each previous year. Since this is the pilot year, everyone will be new to the program and discovering everything together.”

Ensuring that the program will be around for future students may turn out to be one of the most difficult parts of organizing a group like BECOME. One way Keita and guidance counselor Mary Peterson plans to accomplish this is by creating strong bonds between mentors and mentees. They hope this relationship will create routes to success for all of the students involved. 

“There is a lot of scholarship out there showing that students who have access to mentors have better social and academic outcomes than those that lack one,” said Keita. “It has two main objectives. The first is building long-term, meaningful relationships between students who would not normally interact in school. The second is preparing all BECOME Scholars for life after high school, whatever that looks like for them.”

The mentors of the program were selected after school on Wednesday, September 24. They then had their first meeting where they were partnered up with students in their grade whom they will partner with. These partnerships will be year-long and may continue next year.