FHS hopes to launch volunteer mentor program

A potential new program at Fulton High School hopes to enable at-risk teens to SOAR.

The acronym, which stands for “Success on the Academic Road,” is the name of a program FHS principal Jason Whitt and Alternative Placement Center Supervisor Stephanie Horstmeier hope to implement in August for the 2012-13 school year. SOAR would match students at risk of dropping out with a mentor from the Fulton community who could provide encouragement and support.

Horstmeier said that she and Whitt began developing the program in fall to raise FHS’s graduation rate, which had dwindled to 73.7 percent for the 2011 school year.

“What we find with kids who do not graduate, we see that they are going to earn less income, they’re going to have health problems, be dependent on welfare and possibly engage in criminal activity,” said Horstmeier. “By getting this off the ground, we are reaching out to the community. It will be a win-win for the school district and Fulton if we can get this off the ground and it can be a success.”

Horstmeier had hoped to get the program started in time for this semester in the fall, but after calling around to retired educators and a few various organizations in town, she found that she couldn’t quite find enough willing volunteers to mentor the anticipated 30 or so students they would have in the program who are at risk of failing, dropping out or have truancy issues.

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