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Cook, WSSU Kick Off New Year of Mentorship
September 14, 2023 – Cook Literacy Model School and Winston-Salem State University held a pep rally this morning to kick off another year of their shared mentoring program.
Last year was the first year of the mentoring program, during which 32 WSSU scholars made weekly trips to Cook to spend an hour with two to three of the fourth and fifth graders. The students are able to talk about how they’re doing in school, bond over their hobbies and interests, and ask for life advice from someone who was where they are not too long ago. It’s an uplifting time for everyone involved, and after a successful first year in 2022-23, they’re all excited to see what the second year holds.
“This mentorship program means the world to us,” said Principal Celena Tribby. “This is a time when, once a week, our young people connect with Winston-Salem State University students, and they get to talk about what matters to them and make lasting friendships.”
School staff have surveyed students from last year’s program, and they are highly pleased with the results. Students reported that their mentors were kind to them, that they had helpful ideas and suggestions on how to do better in school, and that they encouraged students to make good choices. Above all, the mentors were a friendly and positive presence at school that made students more certain than ever that the adults in their lives care about them and want to see them thrive.
“One student called their mentor a second mom,” said District Data Analyst Andrea Vaughn. “Another described their mentor as ‘someone who has my back’. Those are great things for us to hear.”
The district can thank a strong base of volunteers for last year’s success. The scholars from WSSU represent degree pathways ranging from education to medicine to social work, but the one thing they all have in common is an enthusiasm for helping Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools students. By showing up every week and making sure that these kids feel seen by scholars they can look up to, these mentors are going to change lives this school year.
“I’m so excited to have an amazing group of brilliant, talented, dedicated scholars,” said Dr. Dawn Hicks Tafari, Associate Professor of Education at WSSU. “They are geniuses, they are intellectuals, and they are passionate about being a part of this program.”
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