Model mentors: Citizens meet with BHS students

Published 4:22 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

On Thursday morning at Bogalusa High School, District Attorney Warren Montgomery expressed his thanks and appreciation to both the mentors and students who participated in this year’s “Teach 1 to Lead 1” program.

Teach 1 to Lead 1 is a nationally based curriculum that teaches life lessons to students in middle school and high school. Montgomery’s office recently partnered with BHS to offer the program to students in Washington Parish for the first time.

Bogalusa citizens volunteered their time as mentors, who visited BHS for one hour each week for 14 weeks, in order to help students that BHS determined were in need of additional mentorship.

On Thursday, Montgomery visited the BHS library to meet the mentors and students who participated in the pilot program.

“We may not choose our parents or where we grow up, but we can choose our futures,” Montgomery said, to the students. “That’s what these mentors are trying to communicate to you. You can make positive life choices. I like what one of the mentors told me earlier — the only place where ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.”

The students in the mentoring classes were treated with a pizza party.

Ta’Kayla Collins, an eighth grader, said that she enjoyed what she learned in the program.

“It teaches you a lot about self-control,” she said. “I know I will keep using what I learned as I grow up.”

Eleventh grader Diondra Fernandez agreed.

“It helped me to get rid of some negative things in my life,” she said. “I feel like at the end of the year, I’ve gotten a lot different and better.”

The students weren’t the only ones who said they enjoyed their time in the Teach 1 to Lead 1 program.

“It really opened my eyes to some of the things that are young people are facing,” said Glennis McKelphin Jr., one of the adult mentors. “A lot of these kids just really need someone to listen to them.”

Dana Walker, another mentor, said that the lessons the students learned will stay with them through adulthood.

“It was just a wonderful experience for me as well,” she said. “We really got a chance to know these kids. We were able to share our life experiences with them, and they were able to share their life experiences with us.”

Bogalusa City Schools Superintendent Lisa Tanner and BHS principal Linda Pittman thanked Montgomery and his office for bringing the program to Bogalusa.

“My goal is to make sure that everyone in this room gets whatever they need to be successful,” Tanner said. “Programs like this one are an awesome opportunity for our students.”

Also Thursday, Kalisa Hyman with International Paper presented a donation check to Montgomery to help fund the program in the future.

For more information about the Teach 1 to Lead 1 program, call Lisa Frazier Page in Montgomery’s office at 985-809-8383, or visit online at