Taking On Tiger Time

Teacher, senior discuss mentor program

Kaitlin Green, Publication Editor

When freshmen enter their first week of high school, many changes can be overwhelming. Thankfully, the Tiger Mentor program aims to create a smooth transition for these students.

Each year, juniors and seniors apply for the chance to be a Tiger Mentor for a class of freshmen. Twice a week during Tiger Time, these leaders spend an hour in a freshmen room with the purpose of leading lessons, encouraging students and being role models, all to make the switch to high school more manageable.

Teacher Mackenzie Fuller became the director of the program four years ago because of the passion she felt toward making incoming students feel welcome at Blue Valley. Fuller hopes the student leaders have the same drive.

“The goal is to make sure that the mentors are talking to the freshmen — not just in Tiger Time,” Fuller said. “[Mentors] should be in Tiger Paws or in the hallways making sure they’re actually forming true relationships.”

Meanwhile, senior Jill Rogers is returning for her second year as a Tiger Mentor, this time as an executive member. Like Fuller, Rogers is very passionate about helping the program be its best.

“Coming to senior year, I wanted to be more involved in it,” Rogers said. “There were some things I felt like we could add, and I wanted to contribute more than I did.”

Unlike regular mentors, executive mentors handle several projects that help Tiger Time run smoothly, from planning events to coordinating mentor and teacher pairings.

“It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work and things you wouldn’t normally think of,” Rogers said.

With COVID-19 forcing many Tiger Time sessions onto Zoom last year, Fuller was nervous to train not only juniors but also seniors for a full year of Tiger Times. However, she is extremely proud of the mentors who were selected and

the dedication they have put into making this year as normal as possible for the freshmen.

“The mentors haven’t skipped a beat,” Fuller said. “I have had teachers seek me in the hallways just to compliment them and say how amazing they were.”

With school starting in person this year, Fuller looks forward to Tiger Time occurring twice a week in the hopes that an even stronger relationship will solidify between upperclassmen mentors and freshmen mentees.

“They’ll actually get to know each other with having more time together,” she said. “It forces them to move past just [the] Tiger Time curriculum and become real friends, not just freshmen, juniors and seniors.”

Like Fuller, Rogers is also excited for the opportunity to bond with the underclassmen she leads.

“I’m most looking forward to making connections with the freshmen,” Rogers said. “With Tiger Time fully being back, it’s helped people open up and start talking more.”

After reflecting on her own experience, Rogers urges students to apply to be a Tiger Mentor in order to leave a positive impact on not only the freshman class but the school as a whole.

“I would recommend people be Tiger Mentors because it’s a way to get involved,” Rogers said. “It’s making it less scary for the freshmen and helps them a lot.”