1/18/2011 3:07:00 PM St. Mary's alumnae serve as mentors
St. Mary's Academy photo
Haley Wilson meets with her mentor, Stephanie Davis.
St. Mary’s Academy
1615 SW 5th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97201 (503) 228-8306 [email protected] www.stmaryspdx.org Grades – 9-12 Enrollment – 602 Tuition- $9,800; fees $100. Financial aid available. Applications due — Jan. 14 Full day visits available through April for students that include parent visits that morning. Current seventh graders can participate in a full-day visit beginning in April.
Once a month, St. Mary’s Academy junior Haley Wilson meets alumna Stephanie Davis, class of 1989, for coffee and conversation as part of St. Mary’s Alumnae Mentorship Program.
Since its start in 2002, the program helps sophomores or juniors cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with a nurturing mentor. Alumnae mentors answer questions, listen without bias and utilize leadership skills to help students set and achieve goals to ensure they reach their full potential and live their dreams.
By providing this service, the mentors are giving back to their alma mater as they help future generations. They share their life lessons, career and collegiate information and their St. Mary’s experience.
Before the program even begins, the Alumnae Department provides training for the mentors with professional life coaches to educate them on how to best motivate, encourage and inspire students.
On Oct. 6, 33 students were paired with alumnae at Meet Your Mentor Night to begin forming lasting friendships. They follow up with group parties such as game night and a Christmas ornament exchange as well as seeing sporting events and concerts or going shopping.
“While the students think they are the beneficiaries of the program, the mentors really are,” says Davis. “I credit St. Mary’s for so many exceptional opportunities, and I cherish being able to share that with current students.”
As Wilson wrestles with her many career choices the opportunity to job shadow with Davis at her workplace is a benefit. As a paralegal, Davis can give advice to Wilson, who is now considering law school after learning more about Davis' career.
For students like Wilson, who initially enrolled in the program for collegiate and career advice, the program also provides a friend. During her sophomore year, Wilson was paired with Emilie Witkowski, a 2003 graduate, and when her aunt suffered a stroke then, she found solace and turned to her St. Mary’s mentor.
“Emilie told me that everything happens for a reason and to love those close to you knowing they may not be with you forever,” said Wilson. “Her advice and guidance really helped me through that difficult period in my life.”
Additionally, the program offers Haley a chance to learn the inherent responsibility and joy of offering service. “After I graduate, I can’t wait to provide the service to help students the way Emilie and Stephanie have helped me.”