Shield to the Rescue: Upperclassmen Mentor Class of 2024

     Last year, Fenwick announced the creation of the Shield program to help our incoming Freshmen grow closer as a class and become familiar with the school. As a part of the program, juniors and seniors help new students become familiar with the rules, classes and building. The school was fully supportive of the concept and need for this program because the adjustment to Fenwick can prove to be extremely challenging. The program was promoted through the Fenwick website, and mentors spread the word across various social media platforms. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program faced the challenge of following CDC guidelines while simultaneously fostering student interactions. Following these guidelines, Shield moderators decided to reserve the first week of school in August for Freshmen and mentors only to maintain social distancing. Mentors also were required to attend a full day of training before Freshman Orientation to ensure a safe and successful experience for all students. Faced with the challenge of new safety protocols, Shield mentors and the faculty moderators remained committed to the program’s goal of helping incoming Freshmen feel comfortable during their transition into high school.

     The jump from middle school to high school can be overwhelming for some students; that is where the Shield program steps into play. Shield mentor Katy Nairn ‘22 said, “Our main goal for the Shield program is to help foster an inclusive transition to Fenwick for the Class of 2024. This year presents so many new challenges for our freshmen                                                             and makes the program especially vital. As a first-year

mentor, I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know my freshman mentees during Orientation. From teaching the ins and outs of Schoology to competing in paper airplane contests, we took advantage of meeting face to face with the freshmen.”

     The Class of 2024 is undoubtedly faced with a bizarre introduction to high school, but after speaking with Freshmen, it appears that goals of the Shield program are being met, as many students credit the Shield program for helping them transition to Fenwick’s academics, rules and geography. Even in a normal school year, all students agree that Fenwick’s antiquated labyrinth of classrooms can be confusing to navigate at times. During hybrid learning, with all the stairs and hallways marked with the new gigantic white arrows, meant to maintain social distancing, it is much more difficult to get to classes.

     Thanks to the Shield program, freshmen were much better prepared to face their new chapter at Fenwick. Rose Woods ‘24 gushed about the Shield-directed Orientation: “It was really good and the people are so nice!” Finn Vahey ‘24 remarked, “The Shield program definitely helped ease my transition. I learned where everything was and what to do. It was so good I didn’t even get lost on my first day!”

     Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, the Shield program has definitely reached its goals and has propelled the Class of 2024 into confidence as the freshmen take on new challenges this year. The Shield program has done wonders for the freshmen, and Fenwick is so thankful for the mentors and teachers who are a part of this amazing program!