PERU - Students in the Peru Central School District are some of only a handful of schools in the North Country taking advantage of a partnership with a program known as College for Every Student.
Earlier this week, the school district hosted its annual kick-off for its participation in CFES, a program based in Cornwall, Vt., which encourages students to pursue higher education after completing high school.
Physical education teacher Natalie Schaefer, who serves as the CFES liaison for Peru High School, said the school has been involved with the program for the past three years, and has grown exponentially in such a short amount of time.
"This year, it has just exploded," she said.
Schaefer explained she bases that on involvement of more students in the mentoring aspect of the program in which older students take time to meet with younger students. The older students serve as role models, meeting at least once a week with their mentees, though many have taken it upon themselves to go the extra mile.
"Some meet with their mentees even more," she said, adding the number of mentors matched with mentees has increased this year from six to 50. "Our goal is for these mentees to become mentors one day themselves."
Schaefer said its her hope by getting the mentors and mentees involved with community service projects - which is another aspect of the program - will help accomplish that. Projects like creating stained glass ornaments for senior citizens in nursing homes during the holidays and cleaning up roadways and parks helps instill a sense of community in students and also helps interest grow in the program by showing what good participants are doing in their communities.
"My list keeps growing and have students asking me every week if they can mentor," said Schaefer, "They want to help and I'm more than happy to have them help."