JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jean Ribault High School is giving students more opportunities through a new partnership that is bringing mentorship inside and outside the classroom.
A group of freshmen will be taking part in a new program called “Beyond School Walls.”
“This is an exciting program not only for my students at Jean Ribault High School but for the community. Again, it allows them to get more into critical thinking skills, more communication, more collaboration. It allows them to look beyond the school walls and see what’s out there for them to do after they are finished high school, going to college, and then decide what career choice they want to go into,” said Ribault High principal Dr. Gregory D. Bostic.
The school has partnered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida and global tech company Availity for the new mentoring program.
“I think you sort of get a twofer when you’re in a program like this. They get the benefit of a mentor, someone to really help them think about their future, and they get to see what it’s like in a real corporate environment,” said Russ Thomas, CEO at Availity.
Students certainly see the benefits of the program.
“I think mentors are important to have at this age because sometimes you may not have someone in your house to talk to about college like owning a business or things of that nature,” said Ribault High freshman Chiyone Simmons.
Students are paired with new mentors from Availity, but some students are sticking with former mentors from a previous program.
Chris Carey and Arnez Riley have been together since Arnez was in middle school. With the new program, they will continue their journey throughout Arnez’s high school career.
“I was lucky enough to get paired up with Arnez who all through sixth, seventh and eighth grade kept a straight-A average all the way through, played football, basketball, and a little baseball too, right? So I got paired with the perfect kid,” Carey said.
Arnez hopes his mentor can share that same relationship with another student.
“I hope he can help somebody else that’s my age become what I’ve become because of him,” Arnez said.
The program officially kicks off this month and will follow these students through their senior year.