Ready for high school?
Eighth graders throughout Rutherford County got a jump on high school thanks to mentors from the McNair Foundation.
The foundation recently completed its eighth-grade interviews, where mentors go into the middle schools and talk to the students about high school issues.
"We meet with every eighth grader in each of the three middle schools. The mentors sit down with them for probably 15 to 20 minutes and talk to them about high school and the things that are available to them when they get there," said Monica Lee, executive director of the foundation. "We talk to them about things such as clubs, sports and things like that. We also talk to them about some of their classes and the importance of starting off right and making good grades."
According to Lee, these interviews are something the McNair Foundation does every year and they hope it gives the students a head start on high school.
"They can know what to expect and they have met our mentors. It doesn't necessarily mean the mentor they sit down with that day will be their mentor when they get to high school, but they also know what our foundation will offer them," Lee said. "They know that we have mentors that will meet with them when they come to the high school and that we have other services for them."
Before the mentors go into the middle schools, they send the students a questionnaire to fill out so that the mentors can learn about them. The faculty and staff at the middle schools then work with the foundation to keep the interviews running smoothly.
"It's a fun day really. It's a busy day, we usually bring about 220 kids through from 8:30 in the morning until 1 p.m.," Lee said. "It takes a lot from the middle schools and they are very open to doing that with us. That is a lot of effort on their part because they give us the library for the day and they help us in the office to make sure the kids continually come when we need the next batch. We really appreciate their help."
Lee said she thinks that these interviews not only help to prepare the students for high school, but also gets them excited about it.
"It gets them excited about high school and they really start talking about the things they are going to be able to do," Lee said. "I think they get excited about having a mentor and having someone that is going to talk to them and help them through high school and get them ready for college."
Lee said about 20 mentors helped during the interview days.
"Our mentors enjoy it too. They meet a lot of different kids and it's exciting for them to talk," Lee said. "In middle school, they are a little more open than high schoolers. They are more excited and willing to talk about things."