A Winning Mentorship

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Northern Heights Principal Marg Dodds and Algoma University student Cynthia Burmaster shared thoughts on the Sci-FY project.

At the November 2014 Board Meeting, a pilot program called Sci-FY was introduced to the Board.
Sci-FY (Science & Reading for Youth), is a peer-to-peer mentoring program, with university students as mentors. At Tuesday’s meeting the Board was provided an update on the program.

Sci-FY was designed to bring university and elementary school students together in a fun, interactive and educational setting. During the 9-week program, Algoma University student volunteers worked one-on-one and in groups with Grade 5 and 6 students at Northern Heights Public School. Each week they engaged in a literacy and/or numeracy activity, as well as an interactive, healthy living and science-based curriculum.

Northern Heights Principal Marg Dodds spoke about the success of the program and how all the students involved this year want to be part of the program again next year. Ashton is a Grade 5 student at Northern Heights. He came to the Board meeting to share his thoughts on the program. “It was a great experience for socializing and talking with the mentors from the university and for them to speak to us about the countries they came from. One student was from Nigeria and one was from Korea.”

Savannah, in Grade 6, was also at the meeting. Ashton and Savannah brought along samples of their work from the program and Savannah shared her thoughts. “My favorite day was the gala. This was an evening where everyone got to meet everyone else and to do presentations so that our parents and some other people got to see what we had been working on for the 9 weeks.” Forty-eight attended the gala including parents, mentors, teachers, Dr. Myers from Algoma University and Mrs. Reece and Mrs. O’Neill from ADSB.

Algoma University student Cynthia Burmaster and Sci-FY Lead Mentor shared, “Our students had the opportunity to explore aspects of science and healthy living that intrigued them and practice their literacy and numeracy skills. With the amount of success we had this year, I am sure that this program will only expand in the future and I am thrilled to have been a part of the designing process.”

Grade 5 and 6 students Nat, Savannah and Ashton with one of the university mentors and the work they created together.
Grade 5 and 6 students Nat, Savannah and Ashton with one of the university mentors and the work they created together.

Algoma University’s Brent Krmpotich, Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment agreed. “Algoma University is extremely proud of our students whose hard work, commitment and enthusiasm contributed to the success of the Sci-FY program. This is an excellent example of how our local school boards and Algoma University can work together to create meaningful partnerships that benefit all of our students.”

Sci-FY university student mentor Cynthia Burmaster with Sci-FY participants Nat, Savannah and Ashton following the ADSB Board Meeting.
Sci-FY university student mentor Cynthia Burmaster with Sci-FY participants Nat, Savannah and Ashton following the ADSB Board Meeting.

Melissa Kargiannakis, an ADSB graduate, was the Sci-FY Project Founder. “After thinking about this program for seven years and finally seeing it come to life, all I can say is, this is just the beginning. Many thanks to Northern Heights Principal Marg Dodds, teachers Natasha Cole and Kyle Thaibeault and Director Lucia Reece of the Algoma District School Board; Brent Krmpotich & Dr. Myers of Algoma University, Sci-FY Lead Mentor Cynthia Burmaster, Science Curriculum Instructor Heather Douglas & all of the students & mentors for a successful first year.”

The program is a partnership between Sci-FY, Algoma University, Algoma District School Board and S.E.E.D.S. (Supporting Education, Empowerment and Development through Science).