July 28, 2010

One-third of incoming Orosi High School students should have an easier transition than most this school year thanks to a pilot bridge/mentoring program provided by current students this summer.

Fifteen Orosi High School students spent part of the summer teaching 100 of the 289 incoming freshmen the keys to a successful freshmen year through a series of workshops and interactive activities called the “Cardinal Bridge Program.” The mentoring program was funded by a Step Up Service Learning Grant, a Tulare County Board of Supervisors-funded program that aims to support service-learning projects that address gang activity and youth at-risk of joining a gang.

Step Up Service Learning Coordinator Junior Cerda of Orosi said the bridge/mentoring program is the first of its kind for the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District.

“With 100 of 289 incoming freshmen receiving mentoring this summer, I would say this pilot program has been a tremendous success,” Cerda said.

At a 4:30 p.m. program on Thursday, July 29 at Orosi High School, parents of the mentors and incoming freshmen will have the opportunity to see what the students have taught and learned during the summer program. Included at the ceremony will be a disc jockey, bounce houses, and a barbecue.

Cerda said the program addressed the following issues: gang prevention/awareness; healthy lifestyles; test taking; conflict resolution; time management; goal setting and volunteerism.

“The goal is for every freshmen participant to leave the bridge program with set goals and a plan for their high school years and to deter these students from ever joining a gang,” Cerda said. “The Step Up students will learn how to facilitate groups, mentor, provide positive feedback and how to present information to all students.”

Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Steve Worthley, who represents Cutler and Orosi, said he is proud of the pilot program put on by the Orosi High School students.

“I commend the Orosi High School students who participated in mentoring one third of the incoming freshmen,” Chairman Worthley said. “I also wish good luck to all incoming Orosi High School freshmen.”