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PHS freshmen get ‘ignited’

(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Princeton High School freshmen sharpen their cooperation skills during a team challenge Monday morning on the PHS lawn. The team challenge was one of several trust challenges in which the freshmen participated during Monday’s Ignite Day program. Leading Monday’s event was a group of PHS staff and student mentors.

PRINCETON — A group of Princeton High School staff and students want to help incoming freshmen get started on the right foot at PHS, and to continue taking those right steps throughout their high school years.

On Monday, PHS staff and student mentors met with freshmen for the school’s first Ignite Day program event, which included group sessions on a variety of topics and obstacle/trust courses set up on the front lawn of the high school.

Sponsors for the new program are staff members Gary Passmore and Renee Kozeal. Four sophomore students, 14 juniors and 14 seniors were trained last week as mentors.

“We want to help our freshmen as they become integrated into the high school culture,” Passmore said Monday morning. “Basically we are focusing on the freshmen and their goals and trying to help them keep those goals in mind as they go through high school.”

As a sponsor, Passmore said he believes the Ignition/Ignite Day program is the best possible program to help PHS freshmen become successful from their very first day in high school.

The freshmen class has been divided into homeroom groups, with four mentors assigned to each homeroom. Mentors will meet with their groups once a week for the first month, then go to twice a month and then once a month as the school year progresses. Discussion topics for the program will include things like making right choices, peer pressure and building toward what they will do after high school.

As she waited Monday morning for her freshmen group to arrive at PHS, senior Kaitlyn Behrends said she would have liked to have the Ignition program in place when she was a freshman. Coming from St. Louis Catholic School, she remembers what it was like coming from a smaller school into PHS. It would have been an easier transition if she had a mentor back then, Kaitlyn said.

As a senior, Kaitlyn said she knows quite a few incoming freshmen this year and she wants to help them with their transitions into high school. She wants to be available if they have questions or need help with things like going to a teacher for additional help or getting involved with extracurriculars.

“We want to show the freshmen that high school isn’t a scary place to be,” Kaitlyn said.

In an earlier statement, PHS junior mentor Christy Joehl agreed, saying she thinks the Ignition program is a good program and should help the freshmen with their adjustments into high school.

“I think it’s great that PHS is taking an extra step to guide our freshmen,” Christy said. “High school is very different from junior high and it can be intimidating. I am very proud to be a mentor and hope the incoming students are as excited as I am.”

Principal Barb Schmidt also commented on the potential positive results the Ignition program will have on students.

“We are very excited about Ignition and the impact it is going to have on PHS and our climate and culture,” Schmidt said. “Our Ignition mentors have the potential to make the class of 2014’s experience amazing.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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