Enquirer Herald

PRIDE program gives all students a mentor

YORK -- This school year, York Comprehensive High School introduced a new program to give the school a family atmosphere.

PRIDE is a pilot program that stands for Preparing Responsible Individuals by Delivering Encouragement, which gives every York Comprehensive students a mentor throughout their stay at the school. The mentors are York Comprehensive teachers and faculty that meet with the students once a month.

The program is so new that they have only staged a few meetings, but Sue Hilton, director of guidance at the school, said they are excited about the prospects of the event patterned to extend to children that may be sometimes left out of the loop.

"A lot of students don't make a connection with adults, and that's the group we want to reach," she said. "We think and hope it'll be very beneficial."

Hilton said a survey of students was held to find out what topics were important to them, and to alert mentors of which subjects to tailor conversations. Major issues in the meeting included: Better grades, college and career plans and how to improve relationships with friends and family.

Hilton said the students are on board with the mentor system.

"They were really excited," Hilton said of York Comprehensive students. "They like the idea of having a teacher that helps them throughout their four years."

LeGrand Guerry, sophomore class president and junior varsity football player, has a mentor in Wes Hope, social studies teacher and JV linebackers coach. Guerry was one of those pleased with the fact that he will have a personal outlet, someone to talk to for his remaining three years at York Comprehensive.

"We're going to have the same mentor for the rest of our high school career," Guerry said. "I think if we switch around with people you're going to be at square one each year, and it is better to just keep building on what you have already. And that's just going to make it even more affective."

Guerry says he has nothing but positive expectations from the program.

"I think that when teachers get involved like this teachers take more of a supporting role, rather than that of a teacher," Guerry said. "And they kind of help you with life rather than academics."

Guerry said the meetings result in teachings that transcend the classroom and stick with students long after their time at York Comprehensive is done.

"The coaches always talk about players coming back in 10 years and talking to them," Guerry said. "(They ask) what have you learned here that you're going to apply to your life. Not necessarily about academics, but life lessons."

Hope took a more immediate take on the benefits students can receive from the PRIDE program.

"Having faculty as their mentors is a major asset," Hope said, "because we know what's expected, we can help them and we can give them advice."