Monday, July 9, 2012

Academic All-State Scholar Mentoring

As part of the Boren Mentoring Initiative, Academic All-State Scholars may enlist to mentor elementary students at school near their colleges.  Below is one AA-SS mentor's mentoring recollection in Weatherford, where she is a student at Southwestern OSU (SWOSU).  (Not all schools have the same mentoring program structure, i.e., "Early Bird" with reading focus, as Weatherford does.  Also not all mentees are stress-free-- regardless of young age.)

Kudos to Quynh for making it up that early!

Here is my experience with mentoring in two Weatherford Elementary Schools: Burcham and East Elementary. 
I thoroughly enjoyed being in the classrooms and interacting with the students.  It was great to see their faces light up when I stepped in the classroom, and it was great to help them figure out a difficult problem or lend a listening ear when the teacher was busy.  I loved fostering their love for reading by sitting with and letting them read to me,  I think it's great that Weatherford schools have such established reading programs for elementary students!
The biggest downside to mentoring was waking up at 7:30 AM.  I didn't look too put together on most days, but I made sure to never miss a day reading to my student.  For me, volunteer days served as a great reprieve to the school stresses of science formulas, financial burdens, and tests.
Being able to interact with kids who were innocent and stress-free was a weekly reminder that fun and life exist outside of pharmacy school and studying. Mentoring was humbling, refreshing, and rewarding.  Both elementary schools treated me extremely fairly; the faculty and staff were respectful and even took my finals schedule into consideration for the last weeks of the semester.
I do plan on participating in both school's reading/mentoring programs next year, but I would love to mentor a student one-on-one through the All-State mentoring program...on behalf of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
As for summer and future school plans, I am currently in pharmacy school at SWOSU.  [Quynh has finished her summer education plan, pharmacy rotation at INTEGRIS Southwest Hospital.]

Quynh Phi

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