Peer Mentor program enters its second year


Chong Min (10) scheduled a meeting with his mentor Bryan Lee (12) to ask questions about the upcoming cafeteria.

The Peer Mentor program for the 2022-’23 school year resumed its activities on Aug. 18. Last year, the Peer Mentor program was pitched by Sunny Lee (Class of 2022), who wanted to help incoming freshmen adjust to high school life.

“I created the Peer Mentor program because the transition from middle school to high school is difficult,” Sunny Lee, Peer Mentor program founder, said. “Without assistance, it’s possible for many to struggle adjusting to the more rigorous school work and different social scene. I thought rising freshmen could benefit a lot from upperclassmen who have a few years of experience and feel more comfortable having a few familiar upperclassmen around school.”

One of the mentor’s jobs is to provide academic support. From helping with homework to providing one-on-one tutoring sessions, mentors supply freshmen with small tips and advice on how to thrive in high school based on their prior experiences. Moreover, Mentors also provide emotional support for underclassmen. Often, the mentee’s first upperclassmen friend is their mentor, allowing them to establish a deep relationship over time.

“Becoming a freshman was quite a big change in my life,” Yool Choi (9), mentee of Jihoon Kim (12), said. “I had a hard time learning the different rules and basics of subjects. I think mentors also act as reliable friends that I can rely on.”

However, there are a few changes to the system this year. Rules that were not clear—such as the frequency of scheduled meetings between mentees and mentors—are more established. There are certain protocols that ensure that mentees are checked on a regular basis, with at least one email each month.

“The main difference this year is that there are new counselors,” Jihoon said. “Other than that, the system is pretty good, and I think the counselors are guiding us well. I’m looking forward to all of the activities they are planning.”

This past month, peer mentors have guided mentees through club applications and sports tryouts. Because extracurriculars are a big part of high school life, having an adviser that can help you make better decisions is crucial, especially when freshmen would have no information about these things.

“My mentor Bryan helped me choose all my clubs for this year.” Francis Kim (9), mentee of Bryan Lee (12), said. “When I knew nothing about clubs, he explained what each club did, and told me why I should choose what I enjoy doing.”

The Peer Mentor program not only benefits the mentees, but also the mentors. As an alternative to Work Study, seniors can actively learn important lessons of responsibility and managing underclassmen. By taking responsibility for five or six freshmen, seniors can take initiative and positively influence their mentees’ school lives.

“I decided to participate in the program because I related to the problems that they had,” Bryan said. “When I was a freshman, I remember how my life was stressful and confusing, and the seniors were scary to approach. Hopefully, it’s different now due to the Peer Mentor program.”