In Their Own Words: Idaho Students Show Appreciation For Their Mentors

A senior, a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman recently came together to express their appreciation for the teachers at Bear Lake High School in Montpelier, Idaho.

More specifically, the four students took time to single out their mentors who have helped them in ways that extend far beyond the classroom.

“They’ve taken more of an interest in us, not just with our mental health, but in our actual daily lives,” senior Jaxon Garbett said. “They’ve helped all of us know that we’re important.”

“These teachers have been with us through the thick-and-thin,” added junior Sariah Harwood. “When times get tough in the future, we’re always going to have these relationships to come back to.”

At Bear Lake, every student has a mentor—a dedicated adult who supports them with their academic and personal goals. The mentors, who stay with students throughout their high school experience, also act as a valuable source of social-emotional support for their mentees. 

As they near the end of a school year unlike any other, the students from each grade level reflected on why they are thankful for the mentors in their lives. 

Koriauna Criswell, Sophomore

A year ago, I lost one of my best friends to suicide. Not only did this bring me the heartache of losing a friend, but it also brought me many other emotions that were hard to control. Let’s just say that it sent me into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. Through it all, though, Mrs. Cook was always there for me. 

Sometimes, society views teachers simply as the people who taught us students enough to get through school. However, I see the teachers at Bear Lake High School—specifically my mentor teacher, Tahnee Cook—as the person who has helped save my life. 

She helped me to realize that there is so much more to life and that I can be happy. She also made me realize that I can trust people and that getting help is okay. I am able to ask her for a mentor check-in whenever I need one and that is a real blessing. Knowing that no matter what I’m going through I can talk to her without fear of judgment has helped me to keep going, even when I feel like the only option is to quit. 

If someone told me a year ago that I would be at the place that I am today, I would have told them they were absolutely crazy. Back then, I didn’t know that I could handle much more and sometimes even questioned if I could keep going. However, because of Mrs. Cook, I was able to not give up and I am so glad I didn’t. 

Life has its ups and downs, but I promise it is worth living. Life can be so amazing and there is so much to live for. You are so strong and loved more than you know. So, please, be here tomorrow. 

Jaxon Garbett, Senior

Over the last few years, I have had a wonderful mentor. Mr. Logan Bingham has helped me so much and has taught me a lot as well. 

I have loved having a mentor. It is super cool to be able to have someone at school to talk to about anything. I’ve been able to talk to my mentor about very personal matters and he has given me some of the best advice I could’ve gotten. School has been so much easier and better because I have had a mentor. A mentor helps so much in every aspect of life. 

I believe that every student absolutely needs to have a mentor at school. Students these days face a lot of challenges and trials and a mentor helps them get through all of that. 

Alex Kipp, Freshman

Mentoring, as a part of school, has been extremely beneficial in my year for a way to have an adult to talk to and almost have as a second parent at school. 

Mrs. Stephens has been almost like a mother to me in how she can deal with my silliness but still keeps me on track even on the oddest days. Often I can talk to her about certain topics like english or just life in general and she can give me good advice that has helped me greatly. 

I’ve found that, as someone going through life as a teenager, it’s been good to have someone who’s already been through it listen to me when I have problems. If I’m behind in my grades she will do just about anything in her power to help me get caught up and has always succeeded thus far.

Having moved from a different school and state and not known anybody before I came here it was extremely comforting to know that I had a teacher there that not only had my best interests at heart but also the interests of everyone I interacted with in my school year.

Sariah Harwood, Junior

Considering all the loss we have been through in the last year, I’ve never felt closer to my mentor. 

In the midst of this loss I have asked my mentor many questions. I expected him to grow tired of these questions, but he has answered them in the best way possible and has done so thoughtfully. When I ask questions he never answers straight away. Instead, he wants to know why I ask these questions and then he thinks about it before giving me an answer. 

The first thing they always take time to do is listen. It’s funny that because of something so simple, listening, they become our heroes. They let us talk and they don’t interrupt. This tells us how important we are and how much our opinions matter. 

I would say that it starts with a simple statement or question from the student to the mentor. A statement or question like, “I need to talk” or “Can I ask you something?” Our mentors instantly know from the nature of the statement or question that we need help. 

When the Summit program started, I didn’t know that I would be this close to my mentor. If the program were to be removed, I would want to keep the mentor program. Adults are the ones who lead us, guide us, and push us. In some situations, sadly, some youth do not have these types of adults in their lives. This program has provided them with that. 

I truly love the fact that I have someone to turn to in my times of need. I often come away from a check-in feeling relieved. Sometimes I feel sorry for them. I feel like they spend so much time doing things for us, they should receive something in return. 

Thank you, mentors. We appreciate you so much.

About the author

Summit Learning
Summit Learning is a research–based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student–teacher relationships that prepare students for life after graduation. Created by teachers with experience in diverse classrooms, Summit Learning is grounded in decades of research about how children learn. With Summit Learning, students gain mastery of core subjects like math, history, English, and science, while also carefully developing the skills and habits of lifelong learners. Summit Learning is independently led and operated by the nonprofit, Gradient Learning.