Meet the mentors: The unsung heroes for freshmen


Carter Swart and Anthony Pratt

A scared, timid and inexperienced freshman steps into the halls of NHS for the first time. They have absolutely no idea what to expect on their first day of school. The jump between middle school and high school cannot be understated, as so many new concepts and learning processes are introduced to students, as well as the struggles that come with trying to be socially accepted. But these days, a group of individuals at NHS have decided to step up and help them out. 

The Miller Mentors are a newly established group founded by English teacher Samantha Deane. The group specializes in helping freshmen adapt to high school academically, socially and mentally. Miller Mentors aims to assist these new students  to feel more comfortable and connected to the school by showing ways that they can get involved. Mentors also offer freshmen upperclassmen buddies who can help them out when things get tough.

“We started the Miller Mentors program because we saw a need for some mentorship for our freshmen. Freshmen were coming in needing some support on how to transition to high school,” Deane said. 

Deane was originally running the program by herself, but it eventually became too much to handle. She quickly realized that she was spending too much of her time and effort struggling to properly manage the program on her own. If she wanted the Mentors to work effectively, she would need a second sponsor. Bailey Mann, biology teacher and NHS Dance coach, decided to pitch in, taking over some responsibilities including activity planning and scheduling, however, the program still didn’t seem to be working. Deane decided that the most effective way to reach the freshmen students was by having other students talk to them. After this switch, the miller mentors were finally in full force. 

“Miller Mentors [pairs] senior students with freshmen to provide support for them as they transition from middle school to high school,” Deane said. “They talked to kids about how to form good study habits, what events they should be involved in, [and what] clubs that [they] could join. They’re trying to help students learn how to be a high school student.”

Every Miller Mentor has different ways of achieving the same goal. One of the mentors, Paris Chaney, makes it her responsibility to help provide freshmen with the most pleasant, secure, and enjoyable experiences the school can offer. 

“You’re a freshman advocate basically. So [you give] extra support and more advice coming from an upperclassman. Every week we go into our freshmen assigned ALs and we… hold a conversation about what’s been going on during the week,” Chaney said. “The first time we went in there, we did an activity [where] we… had them share their name and what their future career would be.” 

Chaney says she enjoys being a mentor. She isn’t the only one who cares: the program boasts dozens of other senior Mentors at NHS that are also trying their hardest to simplify the high school experience for freshmen.

“I like it because you’re with younger freshmen that were super scared and intimidated to come to class and to come to high school for the first time, so being there to support them and to answer any questions they have is nice,” Chaney said. 

As the Mentors strive to make high school as easy as possible for their freshmen buddies, freshmen Madeline Proho and Jude Smith are attest to the program’s success. Proho and Smith each claim they find their buddy Jaden Ninete, a senior at NHS, especially helpful. 

“He gives a perspective on how to get work done in a timely manner,” said Proho. 

The mentors help out in any way they can, whether it be helping freshmen work through an Algebra I assignment, or just simply giving them a good laugh on a bad day, the mentors will always be there for their freshmen buddies.