EHS Mentoring Programs: A Support System Developed on Love and Affection

A Support System Developed on Love and Affection


Alyson Zhang '22

A person struggles to climb a cliff while two people support him, a metaphor for mentorship.


Many students feel completely lost when they are expected to start something new with no prior knowledge and experience. These expectations can overwhelm students, making them rethink challenging themselves out of their comfort zone. Usually, in these times, students need guidance from experienced people on the path they are about to take and their future. 

Without the help of mentors, many students would be unaware of the opportunities they can take on in high school and beyond. They spend time helping students that are about to encounter challenges that the mentors have previously experienced. It is important to be grateful towards the mentors because they offer helpful advice and assist students through difficult phases, with affection and patience. 

Edison High School offers mentorship events for students in various programs that help them in their academic, extracurricular-based, and emotional life. There are several mentorship programs and events at EHS: DECA/AT&T Mentoring Program, STEM Senior Mentor and Alumni Day, and Counseling Department Mentoring Program.

DECA/AT&T Mentoring Program

Since 2019, the DECA chapter at our school offers a mentoring program for the students interested in the business world, helping them gain real-world experiences. Through AT&T’s grant, the school’s chapter is able to hold a mentorship program and pay for the competition’s registration fees. 

The mentors in the program are professionals in the business field as employees of the DirecTV advertising section of AT&T and the students are able to form relationships with them. These connections are important for the students because the adults can help them form their path to their future career and guide them to reaching success in the business world.

They work in small teams of two to three people to form business plans, work on marketing initiatives, and develop sales strategies. The mentoring groups work online for about an hour once a month to create a fictitious product. They also work together on setting goals for their college/career and improving their linkedin accounts. 

This year, the project is to redesign the school website and the teams of students and mentors are competing with one another for a scholarship. The program teaches students valuable life skills such as presenting projects and learning to collaborate by listening to others’ ideas. 

“My favorite part of the mentorship program is that it provided me with the opportunity to test my knowledge in businesses by simulating the real business world, tasking us to create a feasible business proposal, address its limitations, and ensure that it is unique to external competition,” Rajanandhidhaa Ramanan ‘22 said.

Furthermore, she states, “It was definitely the most useful and life changing opportunity that I’ve experienced at EHS and DECA and also validated my confidence in pursuing business as a major. I think this will affect my future, by providing me with the experience I need to start an internship or career related to business development and management.”

By working with adults, the students are able to implement the advice into their projects and the experience prepares them for college and their future careers. The AT&T employees are influencing the DECA members by helping them consider new ideas, allowing them to excel in their personal and professional development.

Business teacher Mrs. Lynne Tierney, the program’s advisor with extensive experience in the business world prior to a career change in education, underscores the authenticity of this program

“It just makes me happy to bring the real business world to the students and experience things that take what they learned in all of their classes and put it into a real world business experience,” Tierney said.

STEM Senior Mentor and Alumni Day

Supervisor of Academic Programs Mrs. Kristen Tsaoys and Technology Education teacher Mr. Kevin Kerins planned a mentor day on November 24 for the freshmen in the STEM program at Edison High School. The STEM seniors and freshmen were excused from their classes on this half day and met together in the engineering room. The students were given a light breakfast and split up into small groups.

The freshmen built connections with the seniors during their mentoring sessions, and they felt comfortable as they had a support system during their tough situations. The program would not have been successful without Mr. Jaworski and Mrs. McElwain who had a key role in carrying out the meetings

— Dr. Diane Braungard

The students started the day off by discussing how the challenging classes were going for the freshman, and seniors offered them advice on improving in those classes. Since the seniors had gone through the same challenges as freshmen, they were able to share their experiences. Many of the freshmen gained important information from the seniors because the upperclassmen shared their studying strategies and gave advice on excelling in extracurriculars. 

Amalya Guliyeva ‘25 found several benefits to the STEM Senior Mentor Day.

“I found it interesting to speak with the STEM upperclassmen, and I find their advice helpful. Also, having breakfast and working on a project together helped me know them better. It was fun spending a day with other students in the STEM Academy,” said Guliyeva.

The seniors also found the event to be engaging and interesting. 

“Being a part of the STEM mentor day brought back so many memories from freshman year,” Ishani Kunadharaju ‘22 says.  

Kunadharaju enjoyed the opportunity to help others as well. “I talked to some freshmen about how to get through AP Biology, efficient ways to take notes, and the importance of joining clubs and finding your interests early in high school,” she said. 

It just makes me happy to bring the real business world to the students and experience things that take what they learned in all of their classes and put it into a real world business experience

— Mrs. Lynne Tierney

There was another event, STEM Alumni Day, that Tsaoys and Kerins planned for the STEM freshmen and juniors. Alumni of the STEM program were invited to the school on December 23 and shared their views on college life and getting accepted into their dream college. The alumni that were invited in this event were Sandeep Ramesh ‘19, Sameer Jain ‘19, Rijul Jain ‘21, Vincent Nguyen ‘21, Rujuta Patel ‘17, Mehal Kashayap ‘19, and Karthik Gangireddy ‘21.

Since the alumni had already persevered through the same situations, they were able to offer helpful advice that the students could implement into their study habits and pathway to college. Zashaan Shaik ‘25 noted the benefits of talking to STEM Academy graduates now in college.

“You could talk to people who went through everything that you went through. They made me realize things that I would not have realized by myself. Many of the alumni talked about how no one ever asks about what you did in high school or college much after you graduate and start working. You just have to go with the flow,” Shaik said. 

“It was insightful to see previous upperclassmen navigate through the college process and beyond. Being less than a year away myself, it helped to know that I was not alone in my anxiousness and that I was able to reach out to former stem graduates,” Jeremy Hur ‘23 said.

These events helped the students learn about each other and guided the freshmen for what they should work on in the next four years. Even though every student has their own aspirations and experiences, the experience was beneficial for the underclassmen to learn about what they should be expecting in their classes and how they should tackle difficult situations.

Counseling Department Mentoring Program

Last year, Supervisor of Counseling Dr. Diane Braungard and the counseling department started a mentoring program where freshmen talked to seniors about their concerns. The freshmen may feel overwhelmed by workload and personal issues in high school and sometimes they just need a safe place to share their thoughts. Since the seniors have gone through the same situations as the freshmen, they are able to patiently listen to the freshmen’s thoughts and offer advice for the situation. 

The freshmen were paired with seniors based on their health quarter and discussed topics such as friendship, relationship, time management, grades, and mental health. The seniors also organized games and icebreakers to keep the freshmen engaged, so the freshmen wanted to continue the program even after their health quarter was over.

“The freshmen built connections with the seniors during their mentoring sessions, and they felt comfortable as they had a support system during their tough situations. The program would not have been successful without Mr. Jaworski and Mrs. McElwain who had a key role in carrying out the meetings,” Braungard said.

The time management and other skills that the freshmen learn at these mentoring sessions are extremely important for high school and beyond. These experiences impact lives because they are able to implement the advice, helping to improve their grades and fix and forge relationships. 

Since the seniors help out the freshmen in this difficult transition from middle school to high school, the freshmen are grateful to the seniors for patiently listening to their thoughts and offering thoughtful advice. The time spent in this program benefits the freshmen, academically and emotionally. 

In the 2021-2022 school year, the counseling department is not continuing the program since the district is planning on organizing a similar program for all students in Edison.