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Why Mentors Matter

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Early in my Freshman year, when I had only been at Morro Bay High School for at most a few weeks, I was given an opportunity that undoubtedly changed my high school career and might have changed my entire life. For reasons that I don’t really know the specifics of, the Editor-in-Chief of that year, Ethan Carroll, asked me to join him in working as part of the Editorial Cabinet. This was a step up in responsibility from where I had been previously. Throughout the year, I worked with several other students to manage the production of the newspaper, which was at that time a monthly print product. 

Before this, I had signed up for Journalism on a whim, thinking that it sounded somewhat interesting. After having been given this opportunity, my work in Journalism became a point of both pride and passion, which continued far past that day or that year, and has in fact continued to today. I expect to continue with Journalism for the rest of my time at Morro Bay High School, and I have even considered it as a career after I finish school…all because of one rather unexpected happening.

Every student deserves to have this experience. Every student should have someone to look up to and learn from: a mentor, a role model, and hopefully a friend. Furthermore, the upperclassmen of Morro Bay High School should consider how influential they might be to younger students they work with and should think about how they can be a good role model. 

Although the importance of teachers cannot be overstated, students, I’ve found, can have a much more direct influence on their peers. Whether through a sport, a club, a class, or even just as a friend, older students can have a massive effect as mentors. Whether they know it or not, they could change someone’s life forever. 

This idea is, of course, the inspiration for systems like Link Crews or Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. But while these are both excellent ways of connecting younger students with potential mentors, they are not and should not be the only way. Those connections are just as strong, if not stronger, if they occur more naturally and not as part of a scheduled organization. Instead, Morro Bay High School’s Juniors and Seniors should work to reach out to other students, especially Freshman. 

High School can be a scary and stressful experience, and everybody needs someone to look up to. You never know what your actions might mean to somebody else. 

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