Freshman year is probably one of the hardest years of a teen’s life. Coming from a small middle school to a huge high school is very challenging, especially meeting new people and taking harder classes. With LanD, a program Chase Dunlap, the assistant principle at Westhill High School created, every freshman gets an easier way of adjusting. They are put into groups of around 20 kids with about 3 mentors. The mentors consist of mostly juniors and seniors meeting with the freshmen at every other connection time to get to know them on a more personal level. “Overall, LanD crew has been a very beneficial and stimulating experience. I am truly satisfied with the program all together and I am looking forward to the future plans and activities that it has in store for us. I have gained trust in others from multiple team building and bonding activities. It has helped me with my own time management skills, managing school, sports, and especially helping others,” junior Hayley Liberatore, a mentor at Westhill, said.
Being a senior at Westhill definitely made me want to become a mentor for LanD. When I was a freshman this program didn’t exist since it started this year. I wish I had someone tell me what to look out for, how to manage my time, what classes to take, the different shortcuts around the school, and much more. Being a mentor and helping kids with their problems has broadened my horizons about leadership and what I can accomplish. “This program helped me get a better understanding of where everything is in the school and how my schedule works. It helps me adjust to the new environment because I can ask anything. They are more experienced in social situations because they’ve been through it all before so I know I can count on them to give me good advice,” freshman Lily Gubernick, a mentee in my group, stated.
It’s so amazing how many people wanted to join this program to help the freshman and participate in the team building exercises that take place. When I asked one of the recruiters for his opinion on the program he said, “Overall, I think its great because it shows what a great school we have and we’ve got so many juniors and seniors who want the freshman to have better experiences than they did as freshman. The fact that they’re helping these kids and want to do that I think is a great thing that will get better only as the year goes on.” Stephen Weintraub, a math teacher at Westhill said.
It’s just the beginning of the year and LanD has already impressed many, not just the mentors and mentees but all the student body.