What is PRSM? Palmer Ridge’s New Way of Welcoming Freshmen

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Photo by Amaya

Ethan Michon (12) and his mentee, Daniel Wentworth (9) pose for a picture at PRSM’s first meeting of the school year.

Palmer Ridge’s very own William Brady, Erin White, and Jevan Wiltz (12) have designed a brand new program that introduces incoming freshmen to high school, using the most effective tool: upperclassmen. Palmer Ridge Student Mentorship (PRSM), is composed of freshmen paired up with experienced upperclassmen for advice, tutoring, and tips on navigating the winding rollercoaster that is high school.

PRSM originated from one of the most difficult ongoing events in America: the Covid-19 pandemic… “It…started last spring [as] just kind of an idea that Mrs. White and I had… [when we saw] a lot of kids who seemed to be struggling during our Covid year. And, we thought that a program like this would be a good resource,” said William Brady, the program’s teacher advisor/co-founder.

Wiltz (12), the club’s student director and co-founder, works with Mr. Brady to ensure that staff mentors, or adult members that guide upperclassmen in mentoring their freshmen, get all the information they need. Wiltz also provides a student’s perspective as to why PRSM was created: “…in this case, we’ve had several students in the past leave Palmer Ridge because they weren’t comfortable… or they didn’t have enough friends. So, I wanted to make something that reduced that number of students who keep leaving Palmer Ridge,” he said.

Jevan Wiltz (12), the student director and co-founder of PRSM. Photo by Amaya Taylor

Although this year is the club’s “pilot program” as Brady put it, “…to see if the concept works,” many upperclassmen have successfully joined and been paired with a mentee, or freshman, already.

“… we look for upperclassmen that have certain skill traits. We want them to be academically strong. But, frankly the greatest consideration is their character, their integrity, their patience, their ability to work with others, and their personal desire to give something back to this school,” said Brady.

These mentors, like Mackenzie Culver (12), are individually paired with a mentee based on their shared interests, personalities, and extracurriculars. “For the most part we’re still getting to know each other, but so far we both really like movies, TV, and chatting about life.”

Upon being paired up, mentors are required to log the hours they spend with their mentees tutoring, studying, or even just catching up. Grace Weitzel (11), another mentor, helps her mentee, Evey Suarez (9), with studying techniques and how not to procrastinate. So far, Weitzel and her mentee have “…studied together, consulted with her teachers, and had some fun at Lolly’s [Ice Cream]!”

“[My experience has been] great. The people there are really nice… and it’s just really helped me out a lot. I usually don’t struggle with grades, but this year has just kind of been hard,” said Suarez. “[My mentor has helped me with] mostly civics. And, just organization and different ways to study too.”

Not only has this new program created an easily accessible avenue to receive or give academic help, it has also created a great way to make a new friend. As Suarez says…”Even with… [freshmen] who aren’t struggling, it would always be nice to have somebody there… as a back-up.”