Porter Flinn was a mentor at South Garland High School during the 2012/2013 school year. Now he is studying at Howard University in Washington D.C.
Q: Tell us about your experience in the STARS program.
A: I was a mentor in the program. I had no idea what to really expect going in, but overall I think it was a great learning experience, not only for the mentees, but for me as well. Talking to and getting to know those kids every week will have a lasting impact on me.
Q: What was the most memorable experience you had in the STARS program?
A: The most memorable experience for me was probably the last day I got to see the mentees. Hearing the mentees tell me how they implemented things we had talked about and applied them to their everyday lives made me happy to know I was really making a difference. Seeing the progression from the first day to the last was really amazing. I remember the first day some kids didn’t speak at all, and then coming in the last day and seeing how attached they were was really cool.
Q: What advice would you give incoming freshmen?
A: To the incoming freshmen, my best advice for high school is to not dwell on the little things. You’re going to go through different trials and tribulations in high school, but they will always blow over. If you focus more on the good things that happen and don’t dwell on the negatives, your high school years will be very enjoyable.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Porter!
STARS has had an incredible impact on the lives of at-risk students. Two of these are Darius and Aeriel who were both chosen by administrators at their schools to participate in the program for the 2012-2013 school year. As at-risk freshmen, they were on the path to dropping out of high school. They had developed patterns of destructive choices in their lives.
Both became STARS mentees and attended weekly lessons with their mentors – upperclassmen trained by mentor coordinators Carlos Phillips and Veronica Lee. With this structure of support and encouragement, they learned how to make positive choices. Both of these at-risk students were able to turn their attitudes around. The program taught them that they do have the choice to build a successful future for themselves.
What they learned:
“The STARS Mentor program has taught me to wait to have sex until marriage, to be a better person, how to be a man, and to treat girls right.” – Darius
“The Mentor program has helped me stay away from drugs and sex, and has helped me to choose my friends wisely. It has been a great experience!” – Aeriel
“Being in STARS has really helped me think more about my future and the consequences of everything that I do. It has helped me be stronger and taught me not to let anyone put me down. I am looking forward to being a mentor next year!” – W.T. White HS mentee
“Since I have been in the STARS program my grades and behavior have improved thanks to my three mentors. When I hang out with them my world changes and turns cool.” – W.T. White HS mentee
“I have gained new friends, committed to wait for sex till marriage, and opened my mind to many different opportunities, including college.” – Lakeview Centennial HS mentee
“STARS has taught me how to be respectful, always be a leader, be kind to others, work hard, stay strong, and never let anyone take my voice away.” – Lakeview Centennial HS mentee
“Becoming a STARS mentor has helped me tremendously. It has given me a sense of feeling like I belong. I have become more motivated and determined. I also have a better outlook on life and I know that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you do your best to learn from it and correct it. I will forever be grateful for getting the chance to become a STARS mentor.” – Lakeview Centennial HS mentor
“While being in this program, I’ve learned how to be more patient with others and calm myself down before I get out of control. I have a more positive outlook on life and accept things as they are without question. This has also helped me decide on what career major I want to go into when I attend college. I’ve looked forward for every Wednesday and Thursday to work on helping the students. This has been the best part of my school year.”
– Lakeview Centennial HS mentor