High School celebrates mentorship program


Over 150 students and mentors joined together for the Baldwin High School’s 22nd annual Mentoring Breakfast last month.

The Baldwin High School hosted the annual Mentoring Breakfast — a Baldwin tradition, where a total of 180 mentors and mentees from grades 9-12 gather to celebrate the mentoring program ilast January.

Through the Mentoring Program, the school district said the mentors, which include faculty, administrators and coaches, are trained by MENTOR New York — a New York based organization focused on fostering mentoring relationships for young people in the state — and make a four-year commitment to their mentees. 

“The Mentoring Program is one of the best things I am involved in Baldwin,” said Darius Burton, Baldwin High School coach and physical education teacher, and mentor. “I love being able to touch students’ lives in a positive manner. This is why I became a teacher. To follow in my parents’ footsteps who were both educators.”

Burton’s mentee, David Polonia, added, “The Mentoring Program is one of the best programs in this school. Having a mentor like Burton to look out for you, not only in school but in the real world, is very important, and I’m happy that this program provided me with that.”

The school district said high school students and staff attended the breakfast and appreciated the time spent with one another. One student mentee, Isabella Victoria, said she was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the program and cherished the mentoring breakfast. 

“The event gives my mentor and I time to chat and catch up,” said Victoria. “It really helps to have a mentor, because this person will always support and guide me.”

The school district said mentors and mentees shared uplifting stories and laughs during the course of a continental breakfast in the cafeteria. 

The breakfast was funded by small grants awarded to the high school from Bethpage Federal Credit Union and Ridgewood Savings Bank.

“We talk, we eat, and we laugh,” said Al Nardone, Baldwin High School teacher, about the annual event. “The mentoring experience is as much for the mentor as the mentee.”

To keep with tradition, the mentees wrote thank you messages to their mentors, which were handed out during the breakfast. 

The school district said for the first time since the pandemic, the Mentoring Program would start this year with another Baldwin tradition — an annual Mentoring Dinner. 

The event will take place in June at the high school and allow mentors and mentees to once again, honor one another.

“The Mentoring Program is one that I believe every student at Baldwin High School should experience,” said Samari Walston, mentee, and student. “It allows you to have an enhanced high school experience by traveling through the ups and downs of high school with someone who is more experienced than you. It’s like you always have a back-up partner on your side.”