Friday, May 24, was the final day of school for the seniors of Watertown-Mayer. While it’s a milestone for any senior, 15 seniors said goodbye to mentorship programs they’ve been working on since January. From working with teachers to medical professionals to even newspaper editors, these students got the chance to experience their career interests before graduating.

“We just want to thank all the mentors for showing us their work,” said Kiron Crayton, mentored by Dave Costello at Elucent Medical.

Students have been spending five hours per week with their various mentors. Some worked with one, maybe two people if the situation called for it. Others would be mentored by a whole team of people. Many students spoke about how mentors would answer any question and do their best to engage with the students. One student, Allison Kuntz who mentored with Dr. Lorene Rutherford at Lakeview Clinic, even got hands on experience with patients such as seeing the difference between a normal ear canal and one with an infection. Another, Amanda Dressel, painted a mural in the elementary school, a project which took over 20 hours.

Each student got to experience hands-on work, of course (Leah Vraspir, who mentored with Sun Patriot, has an article in this week’s edition, for example). For all of them, it’s helped them either confirm their choice of job and further education, or it’s helped them narrow down the field a bit.

For the school, it’s already time to start preparing for the next year, according to Justin Stohls, the teacher for the program. The program is only increasing in popularity, so getting started early is never a bad idea. Mentors can be pretty much anyone in Carver, though there is an interview process with the student and possible mentor to determine if the two are a good fit.

As for the work put in as a mentor, it’s still just five hours. It’s allowing students to observe and do small things, to learn and begin to get a grasp on the career. They get to hear about a typical week and get a glimpse at a career of their interest. Some may choose not to follow that career path, but it’s still helpful for them to know before investing time and possibly money for a career that may not work out.

On a personal note, being a mentor was rewarding. I had the chance to see a student, who is already a fantastic writer, learn and try her best to do the odd assignments I gave her as well understand her own love of writing and what she wants out of her career. It may sound strange, but it was an inspiration for me as well, bringing me back to why I was determined to get the job I have in the first place. It’s just as much an experience for the mentor as it is the student, and a fun one at that.

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