Shield Mentors Welcome Class of 2025

     In 2019, a new program was started at Fenwick High School that has truly reflected the values of a Dominican Catholic school. The Shield program is a mentorship program dedicated to help and guide young freshmen during their leap from middle school to high school. Each Shield group consists of upperclassmen mentors, a faculty advisor and a school counselor, who are ready and eager to help our freshmen. One senior mentor, Charlize Guerrero, stated, “We are trying to naturally integrate freshmen into high school.” She also stated that their main goal is to “help freshmen adjust to high school.” Shield is focused on the growth of the freshmen academically, socially and personally. Shield is committed to help freshmen feel at ease and connected with the Fenwick community. 

     Before orientation, mentors met to get ready for the freshmen. Their preparation included DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) training, making presentations, learning what to inform the freshman about, and how to talk to them. In past orientations, mentors would talk about academic dishonesty and plagiarism, but this year, they’ve added talking about colleges, fixing your GPA, DEI training, and getting involved with clubs and sports. 

     During the first day of orientation in August, groups of freshmen met with their Shield mentors after being addressed by Fenwick’s principal, Mr. Groom. With their mentors, freshmen participated in activities such as ice breakers and “speed dating,” which are both quick activities that helped them get to know other people quickly.

     After getting to know names, the groups looked at informative presentations by the mentors that were new and improved since last year. Last year was tough to make an impact, with having to follow CDC guidelines of staying six feet apart, which limited mentor-to-freshman interactions. This year, Shield went above and beyond in their goal of helping the Class of 2025. “It was immensely helpful,” remarked freshman London Almeida. “All of the presentations, especially the academic dishonesty one, were super informative. I’m motivated to finish my homework and the experience really prepared me.” She also commented about Shield, “I was given so many opportunities to meet people and I feel comfortable here.” 

     After presentations, the groups were able to explore the building and walk their schedules so they weren’t so they weren’t confused on their first day. “I saw friends and groups forming already,” commented Guerrero. “They were really social and reaching out to one another.” Guerrero noted that many kids appeared to be joining math teams and various sports. “I think they will be involved in many clubs at Fenwick,” said Guerrero. For example, London has also joined volleyball, where she says, “the girls and community are so great. I love being a part of something like this.” 

     Not only does the Shield program help freshmen, but the upperclassmen also benefit from it. As mentors, students were given responsibilities and opportunities to learn how to be leaders. Shield has benefited everyone involved by enforcing the pillars of Fenwick by educating students to lead, achieve, and serve.