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Mentoring program celebrates its young graduation

Pomp and Circumstance was playing, and the Castleton Fine Arts Center was filled with people. As faculty members made their way down the aisle, dressed in robes and caps, everyone awaited the soon to be graduates. Only difference is that these graduates were not the typical 22-year-old graduate, they are the sixth grade class from Castleton Elementary School.Castleton Mentoring Program held their End of the Year Celebration on April 1 and the enthusiasm for the event was clearly displayed on each and every mentor and mentees face that attended the event.

Castleton State College has been working closely with the school to help ensure that each and every student is given the right tools to reach their goals to attend college.

Castleton student Justin Garritt led the event and welcomed every one with smiles and chants from the stage.

“Welcome to everyone, and especially let’s give a big welcome to the class of 2020,” said Garritt.

Applause and screams broke out among the crowd and one by one the sixth grade class took the stage, and then went on to find their mentors among the audience.

“We really hope that you all see Castleton as one of your homes. We also hope that about ten years from now we will see you here as students,” said Academic Dean Joe Mark.

Chancellor Tim Donovan then took the microphone and said from the start his words would be few.

“I want to say something to not only the mentees but also to the mentors. Know that every teacher learns as much from the students as the student does from the teacher. Also know that there is a place for each and every one of you at any of the Vermont state school,” said Donovan.

Tara Lambert from College For Every Student got the enthusiasm up with getting some screaming battles going between the different age groups that attended.

“I knew some important stuff when I was in sixth grade. I knew that four square was the greatest game invented. I knew stop, drop and roll. I knew about DARE. And, I knew I wanted to be successful. What I didn’t know was how to get there. You guys are so lucky to have people pushing you to reach those goals,” said Lambert.

Castleton students spend at least an hour a week mentoring over at the elementary school. These students sacrifice their time and still manage to balance classes, work, and a large majority of the mentors are athletes, so practice as well.

“Mentoring is a great experience and opportunity that I wish I could have had in when I was in elementary school, and I was very privileged to be able to share my experiences with my mentees over the years,” said Castleton student Bart Kalgren.

“It really is great because in the end we get to make a new best friend,” said Castleton student Jay Bascom’s mentee Andrew.

The event ended up a slideshow of photos that had been taken throughout the year. Castleton will return next year with a new batch of mentors to help make a difference.

“Learning is all part of this journey to success. It really doesn’t matter what you’re learning, it’s that you are,” said Lambert.