HUTTO, TEXAS - When Dr. LaKesha Whitfield was named principal at Hutto High School earlier this year, it was important to her to bring back some programs she felt was necessary for young students.
"Multiple teachers here on campus, but also community members and what we do, we just put out the word, 'hey, we have a mentoring program. We're going to focus on teaching young men how to be men and different things that they may not get in the classroom,'" said Hutto High School principal, Dr. LaKesha Whitfield.
The group meets up weekly and have open conversations.
"We talk about mental health, sex, all the different things. And of course we have permission from the parents. And so we reach out to the faculty and ask them, ‘hey, who would like to be a part of this?’" said Dr. Whitfield.
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This is a chance for the teachers to really interact with the students one on one and catch up.
"I feel very appreciated by all the teachers who are helping me and helping my friends because they don't have to do this. They're not forced to do any of this. But I just feel appreciated," said Hutto High School senior Andy Toddeh.
Mr. Carr says growing up he didn’t have a positive male role model in his life, now that he’s an educator he wants to show his students he’s there for them.
"If someone doesn't mentor or tell us what to do, I don't believe that every young man needs to step in the same potholes or have the same difficulties I have," said Anthony Carr, criminal justice teacher at Hutto High school.
Some difficulties Mr. Carr had was not knowing how to dress appropriately for a job interview or even how to tie a tie.
That’s why at Hutto High they teach the group that first impressions are the last impression.
"We want to make sure that they put their best foot forward. And even just dressing up, taking pride in your appearance, it has a lot to do with how you perform, whether be academics, how you show up in the room, all those different things," said Dr. Whitfield.
Since starting this program back up, teachers say it’s been a positive impact on the students.
"We see decrease in behavioral problems. We see an increase in grades because we talk to students about that as well. But just definitely we let them know that if you are a member of our shop, as our people are watching you, we are setting a standard," said Dr. Whitfield.
Dr. Whitfield says they’re always looking for donations, if you can donate your time and speak with the kids or drop off a couple of ties they would greatly appreciate it.