San Francisco International High School Span Scholar Reflects on Success of Mentor Program – “Young Huskies Look Up To” Mentors
By Guest Blogger Jaime Velis, San Francisco State University Student and 2014-2015 San Francisco International High School Span Scholar, with Introduction by Kyle Halle-Erby
Kyle Halle-Erby, Span Program Coordinator
The Span Program at the ACE Learning Center at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) is a unique place. The program supports SFIHS graduates as they complete their first year in college. Span is focused on building a community of support. In the SFIHS tradition of learning together, many Span scholars participate in a mentorship program where they support ninth and tenth grade students at SFIHS. Jaime Velis wrote this reflection on his experience as a mentor at the close of the last semester.
Jaime Velis, San Francisco State University Student and 2014-2015 SFIHS Span Scholar
I’m excited I am almost done with my first semester in college. I’ve been a little bit stressed out because I’m having exams in almost all my classes and I have to get ready for the finals as well. Other than that everything is going smoothly. I am trying to keep everything together, and I am finally opening up to talk to peers. I don’t know if I told you how shy I was the first semester. I am already looking forward to summer but also to my second year.
I feel like not only the students benefits from the mentor program at SFIHS as I have gotten a lot away from it too. I have some students that are really open to me and would tell me almost everything that is going on in their life: family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend drama, addictions, educational and academic goals. I don’t only listen to them, but I’ve gone through some of the same issues they are going through–but not all. However, I understand them and their temptations as I feel I have not really grown up and I have a lot to go through still. I try to motivate them, but at the same time it also makes me reflect on myself and how I don’t want to fall and be a statistic. I actually want break those statistics and not let myself lose to the system.
Personally, I would love to try to motivate and help more kids but due to my schedule with classes this semester I couldn’t mentor as many as I’d like. I believe that expanding the mentor program will not only help the kids at SFIHS but also Graduate Huskies*. Current Huskies at SFIHS would feel extra support and perhaps be more motivated to go to college. Graduate Huskies might think twice when doing their papers or going to class since they will now have these younger huskies looking up to them. I really love feeling useful to the community that has shaped the way I am today. I really believe everyone should be given second opportunities and minorities deserve better than being just stereotyped.
*Huskies is SFIHS’ mascot. All students are Huskies. Go Huskies!