Opinion

District needs mentors

Educators commonly tout the benefits of having smaller numbers of students in the classroom, giving teachers more opportunity to spend time with individual students. Consider, then, the benefits of a one-on-one mentoring relationship in which an at-risk student has the undivided attention of an interested adult.

The Rock Hill school district hopes to mine the benefits of such relationships with its new districtwide mentoring program. The program would begin in six elementary schools and ultimately expand to every school in the district.

The ball already is rolling on this plan. The first of three events to raise awareness and money for the new mentoring program was held Sept. 22, when former high school athletes who had played for district teams were pitted against each other in flag football games.

On Saturday, local motorcyclists held a benefit ride at Northwestern High School, and a golf tournament will be held at Waterford Park next Saturday. Register for the tournament online at www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us.

Superintendent Lynn Moody also has been busy, speaking to organizations such as the local chapter of the NAACP about the program and recruiting volunteer mentors. The district also recently hired Zipporah Little, a guidance counselor at Independence Elementary School, as coordinator for the mentoring program.

Tutors will be able to choose whether to meet with students before school, after school or on Saturdays. District officials say some academic instruction may be involved, but the main thrust will be to give children access to role models and responsible adult figures with whom they can interact and learn, not just academic lessons but life lessons.

Experts believe that mentoring programs give students something to look forward to in their day. Mentoring also gives them incentives to stay in school and develop a positive attitude about learning.

Most successful people are influenced during their younger years by an inspirational adult. It might be a teacher, a coach, a scout leader or a neighbor, but it usually is an adult who taught by example and shared the lessons of experience.

We hope those adults in the community with the time and skills to devote to mentoring will volunteer for this program. We commend the district for seeking to expand this opportunity to all the students in the district who might benefit from it.

IN SUMMARY

The Rock Hill school district is developing a new district-wide mentoring program.

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