Letters to the Editor – Mentors

Submitted by Dr. John B. Cagle, Assistant Principal, Jefferson County High School

To the Editor:

Every day, nearly every person reading this wakes up and uses their skills, training, and life experiences to make a difference in their life and the lives of their loved ones.  But today, I would like to ask you to use those same talents to make a LIFE-CHANGING difference in the individual life of a high school senior.  I’d like to ask you to consider volunteering to be a Tennessee Promise mentor.

As you probably already know, Tennessee Promise is the last-dollar tuition scholarship seniors in our state can use to attend any community college or technical school of their choice.  In addition, some four-year schools are developing programs allowing students to take advantage of the program at their institutions.  One of the unique aspects of the program is that it involves adult mentors to help seniors navigate the often-tricky path to applying to and beginning their post-secondary studies.  In our county, almost 67% of the students who receive the Tennessee Promise scholarship are the first ones in their families to continue their education past high school.  As someone who was the first one in my family to attend college, I can testify that the process is confusing, frustrating, and is an obstacle that keeps many students from even attempting to continue their education after high school.

One other factor to consider is that in Jefferson County, we only have ONE high school, so many of the tasks of a mentor are part of the counseling process we use with ALL of our seniors.  Your participation and mentorship would serve as an added personal touch the student can count on when they have questions. In short, the time commitment is small–less than an hour per month.  But the rewards are HUGE for everyone involved:  the student, our community, and YOU. 

PLEASE consider doing this.  This is my 27th year in education, and I have been a Tennessee Promise mentor every year the program has been in our county.  I can honestly tell you that it is one of the best and most rewarding things I have ever done.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.  To apply to be a mentor, or to learn more about this incredible opportunity, just visit  https://tnachieves.org/mentors/requirements/ You’ll be VERY glad you did!