Meet the Mentor Program
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Registration season is upon us. When it comes to required courses, students don’t get a lot of choices, but electives are a whole different ball game. From athletics to arts, there are millions of combinations for those extra classes every single trimester; choosing just three each trimester can be difficult.
One opportunity that few know about is the Mentor Program. Run by Mrs. Pam Cady Wycoff, this program started at AVHS in 1990. Every school in District 196 has a mentor program or a work experience program, but Apple Valley’s is a little different.
“Few students (in District 196) get in 40 or 50 hours of first hand experience in their profession,” said Wycoff. “That’s very unique.”
The class is split into two parts: ‘Seminar’ and ‘Field.’ As Wycoff explained, the trimester-long Seminar class focuses on “college and career exploration. The goal is to dedicate one period a day to explore a student’s interests, abilities, and personality traits.” With the help of personality assessments and fun questionnaires, students begin to shape their future. Every trimester the Seminar classes take a field trip to St. Thomas University to learn more about college admissions and take a tour of the campus.
“I hope the students leave with a solid idea of what they want to accomplish,” said Wycoff.
Mentor Program student–and prospective pediatric neurosurgeon–Calvin Hill said, “I think Mentor Seminar is a great opportunity to take a break from a crazy schedule and spend an hour every day to learn about yourself.”
The second portion is Field, where students get to work with a professional in the career of their choice. They learn more about the processes and requirements of the career, as well as what the daily life of that profession can look like. “Students can get up close and see what they’ve studied,” said Wycoff.
These 40 work experience hours also give kids a chance to build a relationship with a professional or company. That relationship can help with future mentorships, college recommendation letters, or even a future job!
Current Field student and future biomedical engineer Payton Parmett said, “Being surrounded by engineers and scientists within a biomedical context has been incredibly interesting and helpful to me. I have learned so much about the daily experience of the field that would’ve taken me several years into college to learn about had I not taken mentor field.”
Field experiences can range from the medical field to education, but one thing stays the same: the workplace is welcoming and students love to see the projects and tasks they might face in their future.
Field student and prospective interior designer Elora Langseth describes her work place as “upbeat and fast paced–something is always happening. I love getting to see all the designers pull their schemes for projects, but it’s also cool to see all the steps they take even before pulling the products they will use, like the pre-client meetings.”
In the end, perhaps the most valuable part of the Mentor Program is giving students a chance to start planning their future. Life is a marathon, especially in high school. Mentor Program gives kids the confidence to know that they can handle what’s ahead of them in college and in life,
“When a student has high aspirations to do well but not a lot of time to sit and make the important decisions about their future, this class provides the time as well as the tools to be the successful people they want to be,” said Wycoff.
Applications for next year are due Friday, January 13th, and can be found outside room 107. Good luck with registration for the 2017-18 school year!