New program leads students to college

Peer tutors, Information and Learning Center tutors, and Freshmen Mentor Program —Stevenson has an array of resources to help the student body. A new addition to these resources is the Stevenson to College (S2C) program under the Stevenson Foundation that is specifically dedicated to providing supplementary support to students who are at risk of not graduating.

“We don’t have any statistics yet but after the first two years our goal will be for 100% of our students to graduate high school, be enrolled in post-secondary education, and support them to ensure they are ready to enter the workforce.” Breann Whitford, S2C program manager, said.

The process of identifying students starts during students’ second semester of their sophomore year. They can be referred by faculty, staff, or students’ Student Support Team consisting of a counselor, psychologist, social worker and dean.

“S2C’s support students who fall into one or more of the following categories: first in their family to attend or graduate from college, facing financial hardship, from a post-secondary underrepresented population or in need of supplemental support to get to and through college,” Whitford said.

After students are referred, Whitford sets up a meeting with the student and family to discuss the program. If they are interested, students then fill out a program application.

“My counselor called me out during my math period and he asked me if I’m the first to go to college, which I will be,” Alanna Kogan ’17 said. “I talked to my parents, and they were very thankful because we definitely need it.”

Once a student completes the application process, they are matched with a mentor by Whitford in the fall of their junior year. There are long term mentors who help from junior year through college graduation and specialized mentors who cannot make the six years commitment but still want to help students with activities like workshops.

“My mentor is a very organized woman,” Kogan said. “When we met, she brought file folders with important dates and colleges her kids had in mind. It’s a great method to stay organized because it’s hard to remember everything —I’ll definitely take her idea.”

Whitford emphasized that S2C not only benefits the students, but also the mentors.

Floyd Glinsey said he has focused mainly on self knowledge to build character and strong foundation. Although he tries to meet with his mentee around four hours a month, he sees mentorship as more than just an after school role.

“Mentorship is being a leader twenty four seven,” Glinsey said. “I always give books because it acts as a tool when I’m not there. My mentee wanted to go into marketing so I chose a book about effective communication.”

In addition to the mentors, the second major component are the monthly workshops that are geared towards S2C students but are also open to Stevenson students and parents. These workshops cover topics surrounding college knowledge, financial aid and scholarships and college application process.

“In our last workshop, we had a lady come from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission,” Kogan said. “She talked about financial aid, types of degrees, and how to find a perfect school that fits you. I was able to learn a lot.”

Whitford said through the workshop and time with mentors, students have gained more self awareness and are seeing college as an achievable goal.

“I didn’t know much about college but my mentor and Ms. Whitford have taught me so much about the process,” Kogan said. “[S2C] helped me believe in myself that one day I can make it and be successful.”