OPINION COLUMNS

Consider the call

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, September 20, 2014
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A mentoring program in the works at Boyd Middle School is open to everyone.

Principal James McDonald and parent Bernie Maxwell are working to implement an initiative open to any student needing the extra support.

There are no socioeconomic barriers, and it is not limited to troubled students.

Erika Pedroza

Erika Pedroza

And while a handful of parents have agreed to the one-hour-a-month time commitment, organizers are hoping to zero in on the “community-driven” part of the initiative.

“We really would love to reach out to the community, especially the business owners in the area,” said Bernie Maxwell, who presented the idea of a mentoring program to BMS Principal James McDonald. “It creates a greater sense of community and school involvement.”

At an informational meeting Sept. 4, Maxwell and McDonald outlined a list of benefits the mentoring provides for students.

The list included higher rates of retention in school, an increased number of students furthering their education, less likelihood to skip school and gains in the social realm.

“Simply stated, the research proves what we would expect,” Maxwell said. “It works.”

It does. I know this first hand.

My parents, happily married for almost 28 years, have selflessly provided for my brother and me. They stood behind each one of our endeavors, willing to provide whatever we needed.

But sometimes, they didn’t know what that was.

We were to go to college, no question about that. But how should we pay for it? How many classes should we take?

Words like FAFSA and semester credits were not in their vocabulary. But thanks to the guidance of then-Talent Search adviser Rhonda Grundy, we were able to navigate a convoluted pathway.

Same goes for our career paths. My parents identified early on strengths in my logical, less dramatic brother who thrived in a hands-on, vocational environment and me – indecisive, expressive and far more right-brained.

But our parents were very hands-off in course selection, even in middle and high school.

Had it not been for the prompting of teachers like Ricky Stutt and Dan Ulberg (for my brother) and Sonja Edwards and Cindy Berry. For me, I’m not sure either one of us would’ve pursued the career paths that we did.

Mentoring does work. I encourage you to be a Mr. Stutt, Mr. Ulberg, Mrs. Edwards or Mrs. Berry in the life of a student.

For information on the program at Boyd Middle School, call Mr. McDonald at 940-433-9560.

Erika Pedroza is a Messenger reporter.

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