Peer mentorship program to create connections between freshmen and upperclassmen

Dorothea Watson poses for a photo in front of a blue wall.

A new peer mentorship program is striving to bridge the gap between Hopkins ninth graders and the Hopkins High School community. Many incoming students have older siblings that can answer questions, but what happens if you don’t know any upperclassmen? Crossroad Peer Mentorship Program connects ninth graders with juniors or seniors who can help them navigate classes, extracurricular activities, and any other questions about high school.

Hopkins High School junior Dorothea Watson did not have an older sibling who she could talk to and it wasn’t until her second year when she was able to talk to peers and receive helpful advice about class selection that she realized how helpful it was to talk to peers. Then when a younger student asked Watson for some advice about school this past year, she was inspired to create the Crossroads Peer Mentorship Program.

“I thought, maybe there are people out there like me who don’t really have anybody to ask these questions too,” she said. “Sometimes asking parents can be a little difficult... and sometimes it can be just a little daunting to speak to counselors.”

Watson hopes to see relationships between the peer mentor and mentee grow through the program. Mentors will be equipped to answer questions about the school culture, activities, and clubs; give advice on class selection; and answer any questions about school culture.

ViAnne Hubbell is a social studies teacher at Hopkins High School who is advising Crossroads Peer Mentoring Program. Scholars spent a lot of time learning from home this year and she has noticed a lack of connection between students—especially those who are new to the building—now that they are back in-person. That’s why the mentorship program is an even greater opportunity in this moment.

“I think the quiet [at school right now] is largely due to the lack of connection kids feel to their peers,” Hubbell said. “The mentorship program is sure to facilitate those important connections so that when the ninth graders come to Hopkins High School as sophomores, they’ll hit the ground running.”

Hubbell was not surprised to hear that Watson started the mentorship program. Watson puts her heart into everything she does.

“[Watson] is always looking for a way to make connections and build community,” Hubbell said. “Any opportunity to connect with someone in the know will be invaluable to our in-coming sophomores.”

If students are interested in participating in the program, they can contact ViAnne Hubbell at vianne.hubbell@hopkinsschools.org.