Roman-2-Roman(s)

Iz Gius After Roman-2-Roman was announced in the beginning of December, plans for the mentoring program are underway and moving quickly, with perhaps surprising results. The idea for the program, as I understand it, is to pair underclassmen (and specifically freshmen) with upperclassmen mentors, who will guide and assist them as they adjust to the high school experience. According to the mission statement, it will “provide a space for students to discuss their individual goals…support one another…and create strong, genuine relationships.” All good stuff, right? There seems to be immense potential here for positive change around Latin. The key, however, is people; without any volunteers, from all grades, the program ceases to exist. According to Lourdes Taylor, who is on the Steering Committee, this particular fact was on everyone’s mind as they planned the logistics of the mentoring setup. Even the name, Roman-2-Roman, was implemented in order to attract more students.  Lourdes described how, “the name Roman-2-Roman made it seem like less of a hierarchy, so that younger students wouldn’t be intimidated to join, or afraid to ask for help.” The name of the program emphasizes the level footing between the participants, rather than an unequal dynamic. The aim, then, is not just for juniors and seniors to teach their new peers, but for open communication between the two and lasting friendships. And so far, the plans seem to be a success. Another member of the Steering Committee emphasized how great it was that so many people had signed up and wanted to participate. But unexpectedly, or at least to me, significantly more underclassmen volunteered to be mentored than upperclassmen to mentor them. I would have anticipated the exact opposite, counting on the confidence of more years at Latin to encourage juniors and seniors to participate. Last year, as a freshman, I certainly wouldn’t have had the guts to do something like Roman-2-Roman. But the numbers suggest a different trend that I would have guessed, of freshman and sophomores who are willing and excited to create relationships with those older than them, who are eager for guidance and support. I’m proud to say that Latin has a student dynamic so welcoming. As for what this will mean for Roman-2-Roman as a whole, Lourdes confessed that the group is somewhat unsure. The unequal numbers certainly complicate the original plan of pairing. She mentioned a survey for all the involved students, which would help to establish common interests, and would eventually be used to set up small groups instead of duos. However the Steering Committee decides to structure the upcoming mentoring groups, I have no doubt that Roman-2-Roman will be a success. Who better to support underclassmen than other members of our community who have faced the same issues? I look forward to seeing how this program shapes student relationships in semesters to come.  ]]>