CALUMET CITY | Thornton Fractional North High School sophomores Tiana Bogard and Teresa Alvarez are on a mission.
These high-achieving students and best friends, who with their 4.28 GPAs are tied for the top rank in their class, received permission to implement a mentoring program they developed to help eighth-grade students make a successful transition to high school.
Tiana’s younger sister is an eighth-grader at Wentworth. Her desire to help other teens like her sister relieve the isolation that many freshmen feel as they enter high school sparked the idea for the mentoring program. After putting together a curriculum and a strategic plan, Tiana and Teresa presented their idea to the administration at T.F. North. Principal Dwayne Evans said he was impressed with their presentation.
They recruited 47 of their fellow students for the mentoring program, of whom they selected 24 for participation after undergoing an extensive interview process, which they developed. Through the program, T.F. North students will be paired with eighth-grade students from Wentworth Junior High School. Mentors will develop positive relationships with the incoming freshmen and give them advice that will help them navigate high school.
Their guidance counselor, Allison Braasch, was thrilled when they presented the idea to her.
“I cannot say enough good things about these young ladies," Braasch said. "They are extraordinary leaders and outstanding role models.”
In addition to the mentoring program, Braasch noted that Tiana and Teresa are actively involved with numerous extracurricular activities. Both participated in several leadership development programs including the Purdue University-Calumet Engineering Program for high school students during their freshman year.
The first mentoring meeting took place on Feb. 11 at Wentworth Junior High. One of the mentors, T.F. North junior Gustavo Perez indicated he wanted to be a part of the program to “help students get organized and dispel some of the myths about high school life.”
“Teresa and Tiana are phenomenal young ladies," said Superintendent Creg E. Williams. "I am confident that they will continue to excel academically and will continue to give back to the community in other meaningful ways.”