First Impressions?

Whenever I try to explain to people what our students are like, I sometimes have trouble. I have spent my entire career as a teacher/administrator here so I really have no way to compare the typical Mentor/TEAM student to those in other schools. I do know that I am spoiled in this way but I sometimes need a reminder from someone outside our walls.

On Friday, we received a message from a personal email address with the subject entitled “Mentor College visit to Shaw Festival”. As you can imagine, the initial tendency is to take you to the worst-case scenario (kind of like when your teenager phones you late at night and starts the conversation with “Dad, the important thing is that I am not injured!”). As I read this email, however, a small smile turned into a huge grin:

My husband and I were seated in the middle of a group of Mentor College students at the Shaw Festival yesterday. [Aisle 2, Row D Seat 7]. I was placed beside a young student (we did not exchange names), however we had snippets of delightful conversation. She was friendly, interested and engaged. It was a pleasant surprise for this 77 year old Grandmother! 

My husband and I also observed that all your Mentor students were well behaved. It was interesting to watch their interactions with each other. They were thoroughly enjoying being together and even those who were sitting at the far side of the theatre came to visit their classmates during intermission.

I must admit that when we saw the school buses outside and realized that it was a student performance, we had visions of previous experiences (at Stratford), of less-than-well-behaved students. There was absolutely no hint of that from your students. My young friend parted with “It was nice to chat with you.” 

Please thank that young lady and all your students for making, not only the play, but our entire day refreshingly enjoyable. Best regards to all your staff and students, 

Dr. Richard and Laurine _____________ 

So if someone asks me what our students are like, I now have a fresh anecdote to share with them. More importantly, I would point out to them that the one special mystery student that the writer mentioned could have been one of ANY of the high school students on the trip.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College/TEAM School

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