By: Rayshon Walker
The Mentor-A-Buckeye program is a program that was formed by the Social Change department at Ohio State University. This program began at Whetstone High School last year. Mentor-A-Buckeye was established to inspire students to remain focused and reach their full potential in all aspects of their life.
This school year a new cohort of freshman students will be joining the program and beginning their journey of meeting new people, being involved in something bigger than themselves, and creating new experiences.
Each student involved receives an Ohio State student mentor and a Community leader mentor. This program allows students to step out of their comfort zone and be incorporated in activities with their mentors. It is important that the mentor and student really build a strong relationship.
Recently, the Whetstone students in the Mentor-A-Buckeye program got a chance to attend the annual Social Change Civic Engagement Banquet. This was a chance for the students to learn more about social change and The Ohio State University as a whole. Thirty-seven incredible students, staff, faculty, and alumni were recognized for their work in the community.
Whetstone students had the chance to be a part of this great experience and eye opening opportunity. A community mentor spoke to the audience about some very important points such as expect the unexpected, stay uncomfortable, embrace the selfishness, and set goals and track them.
DaVonti’ Haynes, an OSU student mentor in this program and one of the Program Coordinators for Ohio State is very involved and active in this organization. “The main goal of the Mentor-A-Buckeye program is to motivate urban students to achieve their full potential through education, inspiration, and motivation,” DaVonti’ said. The program strives to inspire local high school students by providing them with an Ohio State student mentor and Community leader mentor.
Haynes additional goals for this group includes building relationships, provide life learning experiences, and to increase college access and success among inner-city students. “This program will benefit the high school students by allowing them to engage with current college students who can assist them through high school and the college selection/application process,” Haynes said. The Mentor-A-Buckeye experience is beneficial for both the Ohio State students and the Whetstone High School students.
This program helps the Ohio State students to develop patience, insight, and understanding. More importantly it also improves leadership and communication skills for the OSU students. This also benefits the Whetstone High School students as they receive academic support, improve social skills, set goals for the future, and discover new options and opportunities.
Haylee Thomas-Speigle, a mentee and Whetstone student involved in this group feels her experience in this program will help her know the process for college. “Don’t mess around, take this opportunity seriously, and have fun,” Haylee said as advice to the incoming freshman joining this program. Thomas-Speigle really appreciated her mentor’s charismatic feelings toward her and their good advice such as keep your grades up and remain focused!
Whetstone was chosen to participate in Mentor-A-Buckeye for several reasons. Whetstone was the first school OSU piloted in their Day in the Life of a Buckeye program which was an opportunity for the Whetstone students to visit OSU for a day. More importantly, Whetstone was selected because of its diversity of students from various races/ethnicities, socio-economic statuses and students attending Whetstone from all across the city of Columbus, DaVonti Haynes mentioned.
Caleb Sperling, also a mentee in this group and Whetstone student feels he has a strong connection and relationship with both of his mentors. He wants to do more activities with the group as a whole because he really likes the people involved and what they have to offer. Caleb’s advice for the incoming freshman is to mainly absorb as much information as possible and be completely involved.
In summation, this program was formed and created as a way to help increase as well as improve the college-going rate among urban youth and to give them experiences they may not otherwise be able to experience.