High School Mentoring Program Aimed at Teaching a Little Respect

By Galloro, Vince | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 11, 1998 | Go to article overview

High School Mentoring Program Aimed at Teaching a Little Respect


Galloro, Vince, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Vince Galloro Daily Herald Staff Writer

Kevin Curtin wishes the hallways at Prospect High School didn't bear such a strong resemblance to a football field.

It's not that Curtin dislikes football - he's on Prospect's team.

He just would rather not have to weave his way through hallway crowds the way a running back dodges tacklers.

"That's one of my pet peeves," he says, "when you've got to be like Barry Sanders to get to class."

Curtin thinks the halls are congested in part because students aren't considerate enough of others to stay out of the way.

He hopes to do something this year about that, and all those other little things that strain relationships among students and between students and teachers.

He's a leader in Prospect's Knights' Way program, a new effort this year to build better relationships at the Mount Prospect school.

The student leaders spent a day recently learning how to lead a small group of students.

They'll put that training to use seven times this school year, starting Tuesday, as they help students learn and discuss the seven beliefs of the Knights' Creed, each one highlighting a letter in the word "Respect."

The ideas seem simple. Treat others as you would like to be treated, take responsibility for your actions and show pride in your school, to name just three.

You might think that Knights' Way, to paraphrase a book title, is talking about ideas we all learned in kindergarten - or should have.

Stacy Argoe, one of the 103 students learning to be a Knights' Way leader, knows she isn't training to be a brain surgeon.

"It's basically common sense," Argoe says. "It's things you were taught in elementary school but that fell by the wayside."

But students and teachers seem to think greater respect could be what Prospect needs most.

In separate surveys, three-quarters of staff and students said it was what they would most like to see improved at Prospect.

The survey results, from two years ago, came after members of the dean's advisory committee at Prospect had observed how a few other high schools worked at improving relationships, said Sandy Pifer, a counselor who is running Knights' Way with Spanish teacher Linda Tolchin.

A Knights' Creed to guide students was developed, and, last year, teachers worked on their end of the bargain, Pifer says.

The teachers worked on showing students respect, on building relationships.

"We believe that if you understand a person better, if you get to know them, you're going to respect them more," Pifer said.

But for all the good teachers can do toward that goal, the only way to succeed is to get the students on board, too, Pifer said.

The Knights' Way committee - which included two students - decided the best way to do that was to rely on them to deliver the message to their peers. …

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