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Keene Central School students meet new mentors through program

David Craig of Keene sits with his new mentee, Joseph Wilson of grade 5.

David Craig of Keene sits with his new mentee, Joseph Wilson of grade 5. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Excitement peaked as students and new mentors checked in to the “Meet the Mentors” event Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Keene Central School.

Sixteen Keene students from grades 5 and 6 met with members of the community who will be their mentors for the rest of the school year.

The students applied in June for their mentor, and over the last few months, school officials have taken on the challenge of finding the right student and mentor match for the past six years. The committee members were Alice Bouttee, mentor coordinator; Harry Fine, dean of students; and Cynthia Johnson, superintendent and principal of the Keene Central School.

“We are so fortunate to have a superintendent and principal who is very familiar with the students and parents, and I know the community members,” Boutte said. “Mrs. Johnson started the program, and we have successfully matched kids with mentors who have formed long-term friendships for years after they met in the program.”

Tenth grader Peter Craig has had the same mentor since the program began six years ago. He came to the event to show support for his parents, who were taking on new mentees this year.

“It’s been a really good time,” he said. “I get to do a lot of stuff I wouldn’t normally get to do and me and my mentor, Hope Stone, have a lot in common,” Craig said.

Craig’s father, David, met his new mentee Joseph Wilson, of grade 5. Wilson said he hoped his mentor would like to do outdoor activities with him. The two bonded over shared talents. Joseph shared his hidden talent called “chameleon eyes,” going cross-eyed. In turn, David shared his talent, he can have his eyes go in two different directions.

The faculty set up the lobby of the Keene Central School to resemble a cafe atmosphere with punch and cookies. The first part of the meeting session, after students and parents met their mentors, was filled with paperwork or “busy work,” as Boutte called it. The busy work is meant to help the students, parents, and mentors break the ice so they can establish a common understanding, boundaries, and also sign a promise to try and meet once a week for an hour on school property.

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