Tucker High principal proposes program to mentor students

PARSONS – Tucker County High School Principal Jay Hamric explained a proposed program for at risk students he hopes to get started at the school in the next couple of weeks. Hamric said the Spark Program, an adult mentor plan, would strive to provide opportunities for students to build resiliency, coping skills and self-efficacy by focusing on what the youth are doing right. It also emphasizes strengths, abilities and potentials.

“This initiative is coming out of our safe schools grant,” Hamric said. “There is a need to help these at risk students.”

Hamric said these students do not have a great support network surrounding them and they lack the developmental assets to make them successful.

“We are in contact with some community members who want to volunteer their time and their expertise to develop a mentorship with these students,” Hamric said. “We want to have a program where we are working with students to develop their skills and assets to help them become successful.”

Hamric said the challenge is the students don’t have positive role models and structure support. He said they do not have high self-worth or the intrinsic self-motivation they need.

“As a group, when we meet with these kids, we are going to try to identify where as a school and a community we can address the students needs,” Hamric said.

“We do see this as a community project. It will start at the school, but it is more of a community project instead of a school project. We will be looking for for individuals, agencies and groups to help us address some of these needs.”

Hamric said in a few short years, the students will graduate or drop out of school and they will be in our communities.

“That is why we hope to grow this program,” Hamric said.

Hamric said instead of looking for weaknesses, they will flip it and look at the student strengths, their positives and what they are doing well. He said the program will begin with about 10 students so they can work with the adult volunteers in eight one-hour sessions during school. The sessions will be sequenced so they are building upon one another.

He said the sessions will include relationship building, self awareness, brain development, emotional self regulation, goal setting and self efficacy, social skills and role play, mindfulness, community and civic development and a celebratory-experiential activity.

“The students will be working with horses,” Hamric said. “As you can see, we have worked hard for this. We will refine it for next year. It will give the students time to reflect on their lives and see their challenges and identify their strengths and grow more resilient.”

Hamric said they see this group as a wonderful way to pull in the community to help as it develops and grows.

“We hope they will see these are community problems, not just school problems,” Hamric said. “Our school will improve, our school culture will improve and we will hopefully help these individuals along the way.”