Ridgewood mentors help students succeed
Ridgewood junior Emilia Marszalek (lef) of Norridge talks to Elisa Maloberti of Norridge, who is director of egg product marketing for the American Egg Board, during a student and mentor training session Aug. 30. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 14, 2012 12:15PM
NORRIDGE — Ridgewood High School’s mission is to ensure every student learns.
To help reach that goal, the school has reached out to the community to become mentors.
Stepping up to the challenge are dozens of adults, in addition to some students.
“The mentoring mission is to collaborate to ensure that every student learns,” coordinator Carol Barry explained at a program orientation meeting. “You may not know if you made a difference.”
The goal is to make the transition to high school easier for students who need extra attention in establishing strong academic and personal skills through a network of inspiration and support, Barry explained.
“We need to build resilience in students,” she said.
Examples she offered included childhood obesity as it relates to computer screen time and bullying.
Businessman Noccio Dargento has participated in the mentoring program for years. He admitted he wasn’t the best student. Although he had the smarts, he didn’t pay attention.
“I want to let the kids know they shouldn’t go just to school just to show up,” Dargento said. “They should go to learn.
“The test is easy,” he added. “It’s the studying that’s hard. I want to get that out to the kids.”
Dargento said as a business owner, he is tested every day in such subjects as marketing and financing.
Just as in school, he has to do research before he makes any decisions.
“It used to be, you had to go through 20 books to find what you needed.” He said. “It’s much more fun today to do that research.”
His goal is to get that point across to students and help them improve their grade point averages.
Ridgewood junior Ryan Schmidt said he participates in the mentoring program because he believes he can make a difference.
“I bring experience to the table, leadership skills,” he said. “I work well with people, and I have a desire to help.”
Mentors meet with their students once a month to go over such matters as time management, social issues and schoolwork, Barry said.
She noted students who receive mentoring help are less likely to skip school, use illegal drugs or alcohol or become violent.