HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Over 300 incoming freshmen at Roosevelt High School were greeted with a special program on their first day of school. The high school started a mentoring program called Ignition. It's used to help incoming freshmen into high school.
Roosevelt High School counselor, Terry Malterre says the program has been used in other states and has shown a high success rate. It not only helps with the high school transition but has also increased a school's overall academic performance.
"We really want them to make a connection with somebody at school and usually if they come to high school, they don't know anybody. So if we can hook them up with one upperclassman through the year then at least they'll have one connection and if they have any other referrals they have to go to, mentors can tell them go to the counselor, go talk to so and so. So it's making a connection with the school and being a part of Roosevelt instead of just being one person," said Malterre.
An upperclassman voluntarily signs up to be a mentor and is assigned to a freshmen homeroom class. This group meets twice a week throughout the school year discussing issues ranging from academics to social conflicts. The mentor earns half a credit while being in the program. Knowing how it feels be a freshman, Roosevelt High School senior, Ruth Taketa signed up for the mentorship program to learn leadership skills.
"I hope to teach them you know to get involved in school activities. Don't be shy. Just do a lot of extra-curricular. Don't just be nothing in high school. Do a lot of sports, clubs because that's what's really fun you know. High school's really short. The more activities you do, the more fun you'll have," said Taketa.
The first day of the program kicked off with a ropes course, school tour, and scavenger hunt. As a way to engage the entire high school, the obstacle course was created by Roosevelt's building and construction academy. Incoming freshman, Jordan Montalbo said that one of the things that she was scared of was not being able to fit in.
"All of these activities have to do with diversity, respect, working together, teamwork. As a freshman, I really think that [the program] really does help. This program will help all the students to know that there are a lot of different students and everything…how to get along with each other no matter how different everyone is," said Taketa.
Montalbo said that being shy, walking into the wrong classroom and having other students not liking her would be one of the many things that she would have to encounter as a new student on campus. Thanks to her mentor, she is looking forward to her first year of high school.
"The activities and the mentors, they are like really sweet and they helped me get through a lot of things today…they just made me feel normal," said Montalbo.
Malterre hopes that this program will increase the school's attendance, graduation rate and will also encourage more students to attend college.