Student mentor program makes changes with upcoming freshman class

Madison Tenney, Staff Writer

With a new class of freshmen preparing for their first semester at Bearden next year, the SMAC program will host special interest groups after school for incoming freshmen to get acquainted with their classmates and the school.

Upcoming freshmen can look forward to a new approach by the SMAC mentors as the students will not be coming to the school for an eighth grade field trip.

In previous years, the mentor program has assigned a mentor to every student and in March the students would be transported to Bearden from their middle schools to meet their mentors for a tour of the school.

Instead of the eighth graders coming to Bearden, the SMAC program is inviting upcoming freshmen to meet their mentors starting March 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. The meetings will continue each Monday through May 23 with the exception of March 14 because of spring break.

The eighth graders will also have their eighth grade night on March 3 so they can meet their teachers and learn about their classes.

The incoming freshmen will also come at a different time and sign up with a mentor who may have similar interests. After the eighth graders are assigned their mentors, they can get to know their mentors and the school and make sure that all of their questions are answered.

SMAC sponsor Ms. Angelia Ford said that the reason behind the change in the program was due to new Knox County expectations. Because she didn’t want this to affect the school, she helped set up the new meeting days so the eighth graders still get the help they’ll need.

“I feel like those students still deserve to see what goes on at Bearden because not all those students have an older brother or sister that goes here,” Ms. Ford said.

Head director of SMAC’s board Danielle Fannon said that the new process will be better for both the board members and for the students. The event itself used to be hard to plan, and sometimes it was hard to assign a mentor to a student because some students didn’t necessarily have a passion for a certain interest or topic as a mentor.

“It will be better for the kids because some kids don’t really have a special interest, so it keeps the kids who are interested in certain things from getting distracted for the kids who aren’t,” Fannon said.

Overall, SMAC is hoping for a successful year of mentoring with the new system.