Freshmen Mentoring Program impacts West

Some of the upperclassmen that are involved in FMP.

Some of the upperclassmen that are involved in FMP.

Perhaps the most influential program we have to offer at Normal West is the Freshmen Mentoring Program, or FMP.

FMP is made to welcome freshmen and hopefully to make the switch from jr. high to high school an easy transition. Being able to meet with an assigned advisory for 15 min. each day helps freshmen meet new people and build good relationships during their first year.

During the time they are with their FMP advisory each day, they play a variety of fun games, work on homework, have different speakers come in, hang out, and do plenty of other fun activities.

As an FMP, I am confident that this experience makes them feel comfortable talking to the upperclassmen and teachers about anything, and asking plenty of questions about homework or anything else.

West senior and FMP Emily Bangen enjoys meeting with her freshmen every day. She said, “FMP positively impacts our school because it helps to connect upperclassmen and lowerclassmen and that is something that not a lot of schools get the chance to do.”

The ultimate goal of the Normal West FMP is to encourage the growth of all freshmen through the efforts of upperclassmen as role models and faculty advisors. This commitment provides a supportive environment and enables students to make smooth academic and social adjustments from middle school to high school.

NCWHS senior and FMP Alexis Albright thinks positively of the Freshmen Mentoring Program as well, “I think it is very beneficial to the freshmen and it makes the transition from junior high to high school easier. I do believe, however, that it should be a one semester thing because after so long the freshmen kind of get the hang of high school and how things work and they don’t really need it anymore.”

Faculty advisors are required to be committed to the success of the students and to the program, while the student mentors are required to display confidence and good decision-making skills and overcome the pressures of high school and can guide freshman in a positive and encouraging way.

Both advisors and mentors must be available and accountable both in and out of the classroom, maintain a mutually respectful relationship while developing cohesiveness among all participants, and navigate through and act upon student concerns while developing trust and meaningful relationships.

When asked about FMP, FMP director Mr. Klokkenga enthusiastically said, “To me it’s the most important program that we have here in the building. It impacts over 500 people every day. As much as it impacts freshmen knowing the norms and the culture and the dos and don’ts of school, it also hugely impacts the juniors and seniors in the sense that they get to provide leadership and mentorship and show them what we do here at West.”

The Freshmen Mentoring Program offers a lot to the freshmen and upperclassmen and basically just our whole NCWHS community in general and the impact it leaves truly stays with the freshmen throughout all four years that they are a part of Normal West.