“Crusader Champions” gives high school students a chance to be mentors

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 1:58 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Sacred Heart Catholic School has a new mentor program for students in the seventh and eighth grades, and the mentors are students in high school.

It’s called “Crusader Champions,” and it just began this year.

It gives high school juniors and seniors, who choose to participate, the opportunity to help students who are transitioning from elementary school to middle school.

“It’s a program of our upperclassmen, juniors and seniors, that’s who we call our “champions” and then, our younger students, in 7th and 8th grade, they are our “Crusaders,” said Erin Dornan, director of advancement for Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Social events have been taking place for the program this week.

Boys met for a “Breakfast of Champions” Tuesday, and girls had a similar event Wednesday.

“We just do different things throughout the year. We had an induction for them just to make sure they were making those connections and building those relationships, and have small group gatherings,” said Dornan. “So, this week, we have our “Breakfast of Champions.”

“Eighth grade was my first year at Sacred Heart, and I had no friends. I really did not know anyone here and really had no feel for the school, so I knew that, as a senior who now has friends and knows the school, I could really make an impact on someone, a 7th or 8th grader,” said Christina Danford, one of the mentors in the program.

“So, I wanted to be able to offer advice to someone since I was once in that position myself,” added Danford.

Some of the mentors will work with up to three students.

Most but not all of the activities will take place at school.

“If they’re at football, volleyball games and you see your ‘champion’ or your ‘crusader,’ take a picture, post it on social media. Send them a note, talk to them about their studies, see if they need help with their upcoming tests,” Dornan said.

About 70 mentors are taking part in the program.

There are a total of about 650 students attending all grades at Sacred Heart Catholic School.

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