CRUZ BAY — The end of the school year on St. John was met with opportunity for 47 eighth graders from the island’s public and private schools. Members of the St. John Rotary Club invited them to join a mentoring program.
According to Rotary STJ President BJ Harris, the goal is to give the youth a first hand look at the future, by pairing them with professionals, craftsmen and artists working in their fields of interest.
“The work of the mentor is to keep the student focused on staying in school and getting their high school diploma,” Harris said.
A kick off meeting was held at Julius E. Sprauve School in June. Thirty-five Sprauve School students and 12 Gifft Hill students met their mentors for the first time. Architect Sabrina Castle of Castle Architects said her mentorship offer caught the attention of one art student and one would-be pilot who said if his first option didn’t work out, he might explore architecture.
Castle said she saw the value in the Rotary program because a similar experience launched her career. “It’s something I was always interested in, but it wasn’t until I actually met an architect that it really started to become real to me, she said.
Professional painter Barry Duncan said he’s ready to share his expertise. “I got a 13-year-old kid from Spauve School. He wants to be a painter. I haven’t met him yet,” Duncan said.
Rotarian program leaders will be working to get students onto the work sites in late July and August, Harris said.
“The St. John Rotary mentorship program starts with students in the 8th grade. The mentor/mentee teams continue tracking the students through the 9th and 10th grades and provide an option to switch mentors as the student’s interests change,” she said.
Among the participating mentors, Alexis Brooks, Creative Builders; Cassandra Moore, Unique Bookkeeping; building contractor Robert Hoslcinon, physical therapist Jessica Schnell, Lenice Smith with Bou-Quet Flower Shop, Karen Samuel, Kareso.
Rotarians are still seeking mentors for unmatched students.