Students buddy up with CHAMP

Alexis+Romanowsky%2C+the+CHAMP+founder%2C+has+a+document+with+the+program%27s+goals+for+the+first+and+second+semesters.+%22I+think+that+we+reached+our+goals+of+trying+to+bond+with+each+other+and+help+each+other+adjust+to+distance+learning%2C%22+Yu+said.+

Alexis Romanowsky

Alexis Romanowsky, the CHAMP founder, has a document with the program’s goals for the first and second semesters. “I think that we reached our goals of trying to bond with each other and help each other adjust to distance learning,” Yu said.

Carlmont High Adjustment Mentor Program (CHAMP) has officially completed its first semester and will continue to help incoming freshmen students adjust to high school. 

CHAMP pairs freshmen with sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The upperclassmen act as mentors for the students by setting up monthly meetings to talk, play games, ask questions, and have fun.

“I was not expecting people to have such good feedback. I have received many messages on how good the mentor’s relationship has developed with their buddies,” Alexis Romanowsky, a junior, said. 

After hearing about a similar program at her sister’s college, Romanowsky researched and found the benefits of a student mentor program. From there, she knew that she wanted to create this program at Carlmont. 

“I sent Mr. Kelly the proposal, and he mentioned that we’ve tried doing this before, and we were not very successful. But then, they decided that we were going to be online for the full semester, which made us think, maybe this is a good thing for freshmen to find more ways to get involved,” Romanowsky said. 

At first, Romanowsky was worried about the number of students who would sign up. 

“I had done ASB projects before, and I saw how hard it is to attract a big number of people, especially people who wouldn’t normally be attracted to events,” Romanowsky said. “But with CHAMP, I was surprised at how many people across the Carlmont community were interested in it.” 

When Katherine Yu, a sophomore, heard about the CHAMP program, she knew she wanted to join and become a mentor. 

“I knew I wanted to help freshmen get more of that high school experience since I know it can be a bit of a struggle navigating high school challenges, and even more of a struggle since they’re online,” Yu said.

In some ways, distance learning made the program even more essential. 

“I knew especially with distance learning that building relationships, and building friendships with kids who are older than me, would definitely be valuable,” Sushant Bhopale, a freshman, said.

Many agreed that the mentor and mentee relationship has strengthened over the past semester.

“We have gotten to know each other because we’ve talked about our fears, and about how to handle high school, so there’s been some bonding,” Yu said.

One of the benefits of the CHAMP program is meeting flexibility. Students can do what they want, and many students choose to talk. 

“I like the structure in the sense that you get to talk to your mentor when you want to, and you get to talk about what you want. It’s a very open and inclusive program, and that’s what attracted me, as I was definitely looking for some ways to build friendships,” Bhopale said.

“I did not feel like my learning was severely impacted or anything like that. Programs such as CHAMP and the continuation of extracurricular activities has made distance learning better overall.””

— Sushant Bhopale

Overall, the program has seemed to be a great success, having over 70 mentors and mentees. Many, such as Yu, even wish that the program was available during their freshman year.

“I wish I would have known more about DECA and other activities as a freshman. I know I could have gone on to the Carlmont website and figured it out for myself, but I think it’s beneficial to have someone who knows a bit more about Carlmont because there are a vast amount of resources and extracurriculars,” Yu said. 

Moving forward, Romanowsky hopes to continue the program for future generations of Carlmont students. 

“So far, I’m getting that people really like it, and I think it’s helping the freshmen. I hopefully want this program to be what people expect when they come into Carlmont, and eventually, I’ll have to pass it on to somebody else to facilitate. That’s probably going to be a new goal for me, figuring out how to keep it,” Romanowsky said.

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