Middle schoolers Brady Beard (left) and Evan Porter (right) chat with MCPS student ambassadors Jane Palagi and Nick Kaminski.
The Marion County Public Schools student ambassadors held their first student mentor session at Marion County Middle School Thursday, February 15. Twenty-nine of the student ambassadors, all high school students, were paired with middle school students to help foster leadership and communication skills.
Students at the middle school were nominated by teachers as being strong candidates to take on leadership roles.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to work with younger students to let them know what it’s like to be a student in high school and an ambassador,” MCHS senior and student ambassador Collin Allen said. “It was fun -- we got to know each other a little bit.”
In addition to the students being introduced to their mentors, the group spent the session working through team-building activities and also toured the MCPS Dream Bus which was on hand for the event.
The group’s next meeting will bring the middle school students to the high school, so that they can tour the school district’s secondary campus and sit in on high school classes.
“The student ambassador program has been incredibly successful, and this mentoring program is another avenue to help build positive relationships throughout the school district with some real staying power,” MCPS Instructional Supervisor Troy Benningfield said.
Benningfield along with Gifted and Talented Secondary Consultant Laurie Followell oversee the ambassador program.
“It was a positive experience for the high school students and the middle school students,” Followell said. “It gave us some things to build on. Some of the younger students really made a connection with the ambassadors.
“Some of our ambassadors were paired up with students who, at the beginning of the session, weren’t all that willing to talk, but by the end of the meeting they were opening up and were more involved. That’s the best thing we could hope for.”
The meeting also served to introduce middle school students to the ambassador program, as a way to build the program for the future.
“I would encourage younger students to consider joining the ambassador program when they get to high school,” MCPS junior and student ambassador Mya Emmons said. “You get opportunities like this [the mentoring program] and you serve your community and get to meet new people.”
Students tour the MCPS Dream Bus.