The transition from primary to secondary school can be a challenging time for many students. Moving from the security of Primary school to a new environment, new building and a new group of people can prove to be intimidating for some. To address these concerns and to offer reassurance to our first years of 2015 / 16 the Colaiste introduced a new mentor programme. This group was co-ordinated by Mr Paul Ryan and Ms Aoife Morrissey. The aim of the mentor programme is to address anticipated concerns of students and their parents and offer reassurance at the beginning of and throughout the school year. A suitable mentor programme was devised and introduced last September. This allowed daily contact time for first year students with one of their peers in senior cycle. Thirteen 5th year students who had proven themselves to be reliable and suitable for this team were recruited and trained in leadership skills appropriate to the role of mentor, skills they will use and develop through their own lives. It was clear from the beginning that they were very committed to the role. Having experienced life in the Colaiste they had the upper hand to devise activities required to smooth the transition and give guidance throughout the year. All first years were teamed up with a mentor to be their guide. Parents and students were asked to share with us their concerns and this information gave us a vision of there the focus of the year would be.
The presence of the mentor group created an extra welcoming environment for our new students at such a critical time. Key issues addressed during the year included friendship building, organisational and study skills. This alongside fun activities such as movie days, secret Santa and an Easter egg hunt allowed for a feeling of care and built the confidence of our newest college members.
The mentors have taken a central role in the life of the Colaiste. Their work and input throughout the year has been invaluable. Work has already to identify and recruit mentors for next year and we are all very much looking forward to meeting and working with the new class of 2016 / 17.