Mentoring Throughout the Year

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The high school’s Mentor Me program, sponsored by the East Islip School-Business Partnership, has continued to offer students a year-round opportunity to explore career opportunities in a wide variety of fields such as teaching, architecture, police,  veterinary medicine, broadcasting, journalism, law, nursing, radiology, human resources, pathology, computer networking, marketing, international business, marine biology and law enforcement.

More than 80 juniors and seniors have taken advantage of the program this year, shadowing professionals in different fields they met while attending two events: the Catch-a-Career Breakfast and Meet My Mentor Breakfast. Shadow experiences – in which students “shadowed” selected mentors in desire career fields – began in January and will run through March.

At Catch-a-Career, held Nov. 5 at the Irish Coffee Pub, the students socialized with 44 table facilitators representing more than 30 career fields. Signature Bank Senior Vice President Andrew Corrado served as the keynote speaker. 

“This year was the most diverse selection of career areas we had ever had at the Catch-a-Career event,” said teacher and School-Business Partnership coordinator Paul McHugh. “Our students are able to prepare for college and careers by refining their career interests into areas of specialization within general industries.”

The program’s next event, Meet My Mentor, took place at the high school’s library on Dec. 3. A total of 75 students met with 10 business professionals to discuss how to make the most of the mentoring program and prepare for a day of shadowing.

“This meeting was about learning skills needed to help our students have an edge,” said teacher Bridget Lopiccolo, the coordinator of the Mentor Me program. “The room was filled with excitement and anticipation as students were able to ask valuable questions from our mentors, such as how to turn a one-day shadow experience into an internship, part-time job or even a full-time job after their graduation from high school or college.”

The winter shadowing sessions saw Mentor Me accept a record number of applicants for the program, allowing students to visit various workplaces across Long Island throughout January and February.

“This program takes many hours to put together and organize, but it is the students and the mentors that make this program so tremendous,” said Lopiccolo. “It is truly a wonderful thing to watch the students show up to the hands-on shadow experience and be able to see themselves in that career one day.”

East Islip’s mentoring program is made possible for the students by the efforts of numerous partners, including the county legislature and police department, Northwell Health’s Southside Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, News 12, the Town of Islip, Joseph Gabriel Architects and Motorola Solutions.

“The mentoring program grows each year because students realize that the decision for college and work is a difficult one, and that this can help them to clarify what they want to do post-high school,” said Lopiccolo. “We hope that students understand how the program can really open up doors for them after high school.  Some mentors have already offered internships for summer and next year to students who have been working with them.”