By CAROLINE DAY
Counselor, Mentone Elementary School
MENTONE — At Mentone Elementary School, we know that academic rigor is important. We also know that positive relationships matter most.
Over the last three years, Peer Facilitators, a group of students at Tippecanoe Valley High School, have been coming to Mentone Elementary to meet with our students. The high school students involved have completed coursework highlighting active listening, counseling techniques and confidentiality.
The relationships that have been built between the high school and elementary school students are wonderful. The younger students have great role models who are taking an interest in their lives.
In the same vein, I have two student interns this semester. Whitney Haneline and Madison Miller are both TVHS seniors who come and spend a few hours a day with me. While at Mentone Elementary, they meet with students individually and are able to provide an opportunity for the elementary students to be heard. Social skills, positive behavior choices and self-esteem are just some of the topics covered when students meet.
“I appreciate the opportunity to intern at Mentone Elementary and work with kids as they share their hearts each day” Whitney Haneline said with a smile. Her enthusiasm for the program makes it evident that the elementary school students are not the only ones benefiting.
Relationships are also being formed between our students and community members. CJ Overmyer, part owner of Midwest Spring, has been meeting with one of our students since October. Overmyer shared that, “giving to the community is a personal conviction of mine.”
Due to Overmyer’s dedication and the success that we have seen, we are now developing a partnership with Midwest Spring that will allow interested Midwest Spring employees to mentor Mentone Elementary School students for an hour each week. While this program is still being finalized, we very excited about the future.
In addition to the work we are doing with TVHS students and Midwest Spring, we are also enthusiastic about an opportunity through The Bowen Center, a provider of behavioral healthcare services. The Bowen Center offers a student assistance program that allows any student to have two free counseling sessions. This initiative will be a great resource for our students who are in need of extra emotional support.
Every student deserves someone who cares and is willing to build a positive relationship. Our teachers care, our administrators care, our support staff cares, our coaches care and, with many support systems in place, students can feel that our community cares.
“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” – James Comer