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Torch: Lighting a Path to Soar

Two major components of Collins Hill’s vision statement, scholarship and service, are fulfilled daily. There are three varying levels of student-led tutoring/mentorship programs at Collins Hill High School. The two catered for freshman are Torch and 9th grade mentors, while A-Team is for students of any grade that are failing two or more classes.

The most intensive program is Torch. The whole purpose of Torch is to offer one-on-one tutoring and to hopefully form a special relationship that continues outside of Torch. Torch mentees are freshman who were identified during their eighth grade year and have a different classroom for advisement. The student mentors go through an application process the previous year to be chosen for any of the three programs. The process is important since it determines which program you’re capable of participating in as well as which one suits you best based on personality.

As a relatively new program, Torch has a lot of potential. The coordinators hope to develop it to work on a larger scale. One of the most dedicated Torch teachers, Mrs. Herbig, has come up with a lot of ideas and solutions that have bettered the program and her Torch advisement class. Mrs. Herbig always greets the students, both mentors and mentees, with a huge smile. The fact that she always radiates positive energy demonstrates her excitement for the program. She has taken it upon herself to make sure that as many problems as possible are resolved and that the students feel heard. Luckily for Collins Hill students, their school is full of dedicated and caring teachers like Mrs. Herbig.

Although all of the programs have varying levels of complexity, the Torch mentor role is the most complex. Not only are they there to tutor students in a diverse amount of academic concepts, they are also mentors to the freshman who are going through a major transition, middle school to high school. The most important characteristic of a Torch mentor is the ability to build quality relationships and that does not always mean being out-going. With the complexity and new relationships come many endeavors the mentors inevitably must face. Sometimes they have a difficult student who will not listen or complete any assigned tasks. Other times, it is just figuring out the best way to help their mentee’s grade go up even when it seems too late. Most of the time, the mentor-mentee relationship grows better and so the struggles lessen as the freshman redeem themselves with the help of a new friend.

Personally, I have seen how diverse the pool of students in Torch is and how different all their personalities are. Even though it can cause clashes, it also allows the students to help and learn from each other. Occasionally, as mentors, we can reach the point of wanting to give up, but many times with that last push mentees get on board and have at least learned the importance of dedication. As I go through my second year as a mentor, I appreciate the opportunity to help others daily and how fulfilling it is to guide them.