Mock graduation sends 5th graders on their way


Children, proud parents, mentors and Castleton faculty covered the audience in the Fine Arts Center on April 4 to celebrate the fifth graders’ graduation from Castleton Elementary School and the Mentoring program here at Castleton.

Jan Rousse founded the mentor program seven years ago when her daughter, who was attending the elementary school, told her that kids were being bullied on the playground and could use a role model.

“It’s interesting to see the young ones and college kids and how they connect. The mentees eyes are so big and sparkly when the mentors walk in,” said Rousse.

Volunteer mentors from Castleton spend one hour a week with a mentee, one-on-one. The purpose is to get the elementary school kids thinking about attending college in the future.

“[The mentors] are all volunteer. They get nothing for it, no credits, nothing,” said Rousse emphasizing the importance and praising these CSC students for choosing to spend their free time mentoring children.

The mentors and mentees get close to one another and form long-lasting relationships, Rousse said. During the graduation, a few pairs shared their stories and memories with one another.

“I love [this program]! It’s great working with kids,” said freshman mentor Max Louis.

Louis heard about the program through a fellow football player and thinks there’s a strong possibility he will be participating in the program again next year he said.

The mentees also love working with the college students.

“We get to meet a lot of new college students and connect with them,” said 5th grader Elizabeth Haggerty.

Parents were sitting proudly in the audience waiting for their child to receive a t-shirt donated by the Student Government Association. They were very pleased that their children had someone to look up to and guide them.

“Truthfully, I’m not really sure what the program is about. I wish we, as parents, got more information, but I think it’s great that they have someone older to look up to,” said parent Tina Robinson.

As part of the ending of the mock graduation, Corrie Keener passed the torch as head of the mentoring program to six mentor leaders for next year.

The graduation wasn’t only about the children, but about their mentors as well.

Principal Eloise Ginty, of the Castleton Elementary School, spoke highly of the mentors and the program and how it has affected her students.

“The 5th graders have been seniors of the elementary school for quite some time now and they have been very positive role models for the rest of the children,” said Ginty in her welcome speech.

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