My Fourth Grade Champion
What is your definition of success? Is it the American dream of graduating high school, attending college, finding a well-paid job, and owning your own house and car? For many children who live in poverty, speak a second language, and/or are of color, this may always be a dream. But there are some programs that are aimed at helping dreams come true.
The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network believes mentoring can have a strong effect on kids at risk for dropping out. The one-on-one supportive relationship between the student and an adult can make the difference to achieving their dream. Mentors can offer the extra support and guidance that can drive you to do great things. I know, I’ve had a mentor throughout my school experience.
My first mentor was in elementary school and she was my fourth grade teacher. I was having problems at home and acting out at school. My grandmother raised my sister, one of my sickly aunts, and me. She also worked two jobs so often she didn’t notice that I was acting out and failing school. Ms. Hill my fourth grade teacher was the first person that showed an interest. She quickly turned my attitude about school around. She helped increase my reading level, my academics, and helped me get involved in after school programs to express myself. I remember participating in a poetry event because of her and winning second place. I never won anything before and it was one of my most valued experiences. I was always able to find a mentor in a teacher in middle school and high school through the guidance and trust I built with my first mentor. I’m very thankful for her help and support. Without that mentoring experience, I might not have been able to graduate high school attended Old Dominion University and be standing as a senior graduating in December 2015.
So whether it’s mentoring or a different strategy, the goal is still graduation. In order to increase the graduation rate, I believe you have to show the students you won’t give up and that you support them. I know there are mentors out there working hard every day to help make all teens idea of an American Dream come true.
Micole Richardson is senior at Old Dominion University in Business Administration/Information Systems.