Outcomes for the students include a stronger career focus with increased awareness of available career paths, increased internship opportunities, increased interested in two-year/technical college opportunities, and a personal plan of study and resume development.

A six-week mentor program that pairs every freshman and sophomore in Osage High School with an adult community member kicked off its second year with a get-to-know-you questions and answers session and lunch.

According to Amanda Wersching, the Coordinator of Community Partnerships and A+ at Osage High School, the school board approved the full implementation of the Next Generation Mentoring program after the success of the program last year. An eight-week pilot program implemented for the 2017-18 school year paired freshmen with adults from the community. 

The goal of the program is to better prepare students for meeting their maximum potential for a lifetime of success, and to make learning personal.

Students are matched with a mentor who helps guide them primarily via online activities and email communication through career and hobby activities.

Outcomes for the students include a stronger career focus with increased awareness of available career paths, increased internship opportunities, increased interested in two-year/technical college opportunities, and a personal plan of study and resume development.

During the kick-off session adult mentors met with their assigned students to spend some time getting to know each other. Each freshman and sophomore was paired with an adult mentor who share a common interest or hobby. Sophomore Chloe Brazeal and mentor, Merrie Williams, explained how some student-mentor duos were paired up. They said they individually took a personality-type test that revealed the candidate’s top five strengths. Brazeal’s strengths are positivity, communication, maximizer, includer and strategic.

Williams said, “Not all of the mentors have taken the test, but we now have a grant. So they can take it if they want to. The three I like to work on most are relater, individualization and ideation.” She turned to Brazeal and added, “The relater matches your positivity.”

Williams and Brazeal talked about how they can use their strengths (according to the test) on a day-to-day basis. Williams said, “We’ve talked a lot about that and how to use that as she is making decisions related to school and her future.”

The mentor program lasts six weeks. The final face-to-face event with the students and mentors will be Fri., Nov. 16.

Wersching has goals for each high school grade for the program. She wants each freshman to “develop a professional relationship with an unrelated adult who will guide his/her development in a shared career or hobby interest.” Wersching wants every sophomore to “create a resume to use for summer jobs, scholarships and admittance to a four-year or technical program.” She hopes each junior will “have a full day job shadowing experience in the community.” Wersching hopes to see every senior have “mock interviews for the student’s area of interest: workforce, college, tech school or military.”

Mentors are encouraged to share breakfast or lunch with students throughout the six weeks if their schedules allow.

Some businesses that are participating include Lake Regional, Central Bank, Hy-Vee, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Army, the National Guard and the Marines.