University Students Mentor High School Students

February 27, 2018
By: Eric J. Eiden

University of Scranton students will be mentoring Scranton High School students to teach them about self expression and taking the next step towards college.“The goal is to introduce kids that are falling through the cracks in high school to positive things about themselves and ultimately help them stay in school and really look at going to college,” Patricia Vaccaro director of the Campus Ministries’ Center for Service and Social Justice said.

The Megan Cullen-Brown SMART (Scranton Mentors Actively Reaching Teens) mentoring program is an action made by the Campus Ministries’ Center for Service and Social Justice to help engage local students that are not adjusting well to high school. The Scranton High School mentees meet with their University of Scranton student mentors every Friday from February until April to view presentations.“The presentations will be around things like self image, communication, bullying and social media,” Vaccaro said. “It’s like a presentation then there is interactive and fun activates around that theme.”

The 18 student mentors make the presentations with the goal in mind to connect with the high school mentees. The student mentors trained with faculty members during the previous fall 2017 semester.“College students identified things that they felt were most pressing to a freshman or sophomore in high school,” Vaccaro said.

There is a graduation ceremony in May for the high school mentees and their families are invited. At the ceremony the mentors speak and give a personal affirmation for the high school mentees.“Each of the mentees stand up and the college students talk about them and how they’ve seen them grow over the course of the program,” Vaccaro said. “We have parents that say to us, no one has ever said anything nice about my son like that and that’s powerful.”

James McCabe, a junior at The University of Scranton, was a mentee in the SMART program while he was at Scranton High School.“SMART program was easily one of the best parts of my early high school career. It was always exciting to get on the bus after school on Fridays and go up to the U and meet with my mentors,” McCabe said. “Every week was something new and exciting and it was a really great time.”

The SMART program has returned after a hiatus and is currently running for the spring 2018 semester.

Eric '19 is majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media
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