The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 4, 2013

Sessions open door to success

The Commercial-News

---- — The Danville High School gymnasium filled with a buzz earlier this week, not in anticipation of any athletic event, but with discussions regarding success — students’ success.

Almost 80 members of the community met Tuesday with Danville High freshmen and juniors to discuss grades and other topics. The event, Making the Grade, was organized by Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, associate superintendent at District 118 schools.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermilion County will build on that initial session as it kicks off a mentoring program for freshmen next week.

The one-on-one sessions are designed to help motivate students, to help them learn to organize their school work and to motivate them to succeed. Some students might not see that kind of support from other adults in their lives, so providing a mentor from the community could be the spark that propels the students to excel in the classroom.

Alice Payne, a retired District 118 administrator and the executive director of Laura Lee Fellowship House, said, “We talked about what they could do to turn their grades around, but you always try to highlight the positives, too. We talked about what they could do to move a B ro an A and that it’s important to maintain their grades, graduate and go to college or find a vocational career.”

Sometimes, a simple conversation with an adult who shows an honest interest is enough to turn a student’s academic career toward a more positive direction. Such sessions are sure to yield better results than any standardized test. Another session is planned for April 11, and some of the adult mentors have promised to keep in touch with their students during the year.

Those who volunteered to spend their Tuesday talking with students might not see any immediate effects from their efforts, but the real results will be know in a couple of years when these students walk across a stage to pick up their diploma.