We need to keep on praying and encouraging our students because
there is no dustbin out there to throw them in. No losing hope.
One of the key anchors to St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School is its mentorship program. While the school provides intellectual growth to the students, it also ensures that psychosocial needs of the students are well taken care of. Indeed, it is part of our holistic education. In addition to the girls’ mentorship program that has been running for 4 years, 2017 marked the year that saw boys being incorporated into the program. This was founded on the firm belief that boys play integral part of supporting girls in their process of growth, but we recognized that our boys also need support for their development. It has been delightful seeing boys growing in their self-esteem, leadership and resilience. The mentorship program has developed under the competent leadership of the counseling office in collaboration with a team of 26 mentors who journey with the students on a monthly basis. At the beginning of the year, the program set out to:
· Build on the progress of the student’s leadership skills while introducing the first year students to the life skills and leadership program.
· Form stronger groups among the students that strengthen their ambition in relation to their career choices that facilitate progressive and duly-informed life choices.
· Help the students continue integrating stronger self-esteem that promotes personal development.
· Support them in continuing to attain life balance towards becoming responsible adults.
As the academic year draws to an end, it is worth noting that tremendous strides have been achieved as a result of these bold and noble steps taken at the beginning of the year. Mentors have tirelessly worked with students in small groups by providing them with unique and conducive platforms to actively engage and deliberate on various life skills topics. The students have also been able to engage in various experiential learning activities during such sessions to help nurture their talents and explore their interests. The gap in academic success between boys and girls has been narrowed. We have witnessed genuine and fair competition between boys and girls in all spheres of the school where all strive to attain academic excellence. In the past, teenage pregnancies affected a few girls, and this usually resulted in their dropping out and not graduating from high school. This year, only one case of teenage pregnancy was witnessed compared to three in 2016. This is a huge improvement in relation to previous years and we hope to move towards attaining zero cases. Girls and boys are better able to engage in healthy relationships that do not put their health, education and dreams at risk. Students’ confidence levels have risen tremendously, and this is exhibited in the manner in which they are free to air issues that pertain to their personal lives and seek help appropriately. This has also been demonstrated in how they have risen to the occasion in showcasing their talents and seeking help to improve, especially in extra-curricular activities. By way of example, this year our drama students were able to perform up to the national levels and meet with students all over the country. Two boys dong comedy were also able to represent the school up to the national level. And the story goes on with regards to music, scouts and athletics.
Generally, students have been able to express their gratitude to the program for enlightening them on various life skills such as career development and choice, sex and sexuality, goal setting, assertiveness, drug and substance abuse, healthy relationships, time management, and stress management. According to the students, the program helps them attain a life balance, especially amidst the demands of academic and social life. In fact, they would wish the program could be conducted twice a month.