LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -For incoming freshman the first day of school can be a little nerve-racking, but teachers and student mentors at Eisenhower High School are making sure the transition from middle school is a smooth one through their "Ignition Mentoring Program."
The Program started 6 years ago with the help of counselors and The Lawton Public Schools Foundation. Incoming Freshman will be required to attend Ignite Day, which is freshman orientation, followed by a party in August. Once school starts the students will attend "Ignition classes". They will also meet with their mentors and teachers to discuss ways to succeed in high school.
Yehoshua Montes will be a senior at Eisenhower High School this year,but it's his first time being a mentor for the Ignition Program. Montes remembers his first day as a freshman.
"It was a little bit overwhelming, I mean I had a couple of friends so it was kind of scary coming in here," said Yehoshua.
Madison Morgan will also be a senior..and a lead mentor. She said the program taught her to be a better person.
"You are put into a position where you are forced to be a good example and you are forced to follow the rules and you want to do those things and it becomes something you have to do and want to do to make school better and other students better," Morgan said.
Michelle Churchwell, oversees the program. She said everyday students will learn from teachers and mentors a variety of life, interview, and interpersonal skills. They will focus on how to get along with people, resolve conflicts, and manage their time.
"We have witnessed our freshman come in shy, scared of this place its big its intimidating and by the end of the school year they are navigating the halls and their coursework likes pros," said Churchwell.
Some of the mentors and mentees are also involved in the community. For the past 5 years they've had community service projects and partnered with a group called Lead2Feed. In the last two years they've won thousands of dollars and gave it to charities.
"Its mind boggling to think that my students have been responsible for nearly 50 thousand dollars going to the Salvation Army that's from the National Organizations but on their own they have raised thousands of dollars as well as given thousands of hours in their time," said Churchwell.
Mentors said they're excited about the upcoming school year and had this advice.
" Definitely don't stress yourself out too much you will have plenty of time and all of the teachers here they will help you out and you can always look to upperclassmen because they have been through it before," said Cook.
"Don't be scared high school is a scary place but open up and you will be proud of what you can do and go follow your dreams, don't let bad influences let you make the decisions you don't want to make," said Perez.
Churchwell said she's thankful for the continuous support from the Lawton Public Schools Foundation, which has donated several grants.
The Ignition Program started at Lawton High School two years ago and is being developed to start at MacArthur High School.