Freshman year is traditionally a tough year for students. This year, Mr. Jamie Kazel and Mr. David Pfundstein have implemented a brand new program. The Courage to Act Crew (C2AC) intends to help freshmen feel support by pairing each freshman with a junior mentor. The entire freshman class (113 students) is currently working with 58 dedicated juniors.
To help determine how to make freshmen more comfortable in a new environment, Mr. Kazel asked incoming students what ideas they might have to do just this. Several great ideas were proposed and thus, the Courage to Act Crew was created. Many see this as a step towards breaking the barrier between the upper and lower classes.
As of this school year, C2AC is now an established organization that gives juniors an opportunity to make the start of high school an unforgettable experience for the freshman class. Withover half of the junior class involved, the hope for years to come is to gain the involvement of the entire junior class. All juniors are encouraged to join.
Each junior is matched with a freshman, or a few freshmen, based on their similar interests. While choosing these pairs, Mr. Kazel and Mr. Pfundstein meet with the Admissions Office to get more acquainted with the incoming freshmen. This helps them to assemble the best match of a junior and freshman. Once everyone is matched, they are able to connect with one another about anything and everything.
As one of the creators, Mr. Kazel hopes that C2AC will give students the initiative to step out of their comfort zones. Students can meet new people and develop new friendships. Mr. Kazel says, “This gives the juniors an opportunity to become leaders and help freshmen make the transition to high school.”
Juniors may also act as role models. The freshmen can look to them for guidance and help. Gilmour graduate and co-creator of C2AC, Mr. Pfundstein strives to provide this for freshmen. While attending Gilmour, he had a similar experience with a Big Brother program. “It was good to have someone to look up to and I still keep in contact with my big brother.” says Mr. Pfundstein. He feels C2AC puts less stress on freshmen.
Juniors quick to join this organization want to be a help and a friend for freshmen. Maggie Schmidt (`12), a current member of C2AC, says, “I can be helpful to those freshmen because I have experienced many of the things that they are or will be experiencing throughout the year.” Other members of C2AC feel the same. They enjoy being there for their freshmen, whether it is a simple “hi” in the hallway or an elaborate conversation about school and life.
To be a member of C2AC, incoming juniors are asked to submit an application. Members are chosen based on their honesty and sincerity in their applications. They need to visibly show that they are dedicated to being a role model to incoming freshmen. Mr. Kazel is thrilled with the members they have chosen. The 58 juniors resemble all of these qualities and more.
C2AC works to connect each individual pair, and they work to help freshmen as a whole. Each member is given a calendar to mark down what they will do each month. When the group meets, they discuss what they will do for the freshmen that month. For example, they made gift bags for their freshmen on the Notre Dame Retreat. The juniors arranged what was given in each bag.
Being as it is the first year for this organization, the community has not yet seen the impact it has. As the years pass, most people, especially Mr. Kazel and Mr. Pfundstein, have high hopes for the success of C2AC. So far, both are getting positive feedback from juniors and freshmen. They are also very happy with the connection made between students involved since orientation.