Academy mentor and M-A senior look to future after working together for three years

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on March 15, 2016

Academy mentor Joanne Andrews and M-A senior Luis Acosta started working together three years ago and earlier this month met for one last time before Luis heads off to a four-year college, which was one of his goals.

They both say they were a good match from the beginning. Joanne is a nurse professionally, and Luis was drawn to the field when his identical twin brother was diagnosed with a serious illness and hospitalized in 2011.

“I was enthusiastic to meet her,” Luis said. “We’ve talked a lot about what it’s like to be a nurse because that’s what I want to be.”

For her part, Joanne was drawn to the Academy program because of its one-on-one structure. “I liked the idea of getting to know one person with the hope of making a difference — even a small one — in that person’s life. Luis is so engaging and so positive and was motivated before I met him.”

Luis hasn’t made his college selection yet; he’s been accepted at multiple schools. He’s applied for an internship at Kaiser this summer. Last summer he worked with kids at various San Mateo County libraries.

The Menlo-Atherton Academy Mentor Program consists of four on-campus meetings during the school year. The goal is to support 10th and 11th grade students as they navigate their way through high school and explore the options they have following graduation.

Each session lasts from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. The mentor and student talk about how to be more successful in school, develop a resume with an eye toward employment, learn to better advocate for himself or herself, and make the push to apply to a four-year university.

“Anyone can be a mentor,” said program head and M-A teacher Chris Rubin. “We are always searching for caring, committed individuals who can make a little time in their lives to support these students.”

Prospective mentors can register for the 2016-17 program online. Chris is happy to address specific questions or concerns: crubin@seq.org.

As for Luis and Joanne, it isn’t goodbye. They’ll continue to text and stay in touch when Luis starts college.

Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2016

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