Over Family and Alumni Weekend, Black Student Union (BSU) members met with black graduates through the newly formed BSU Alumni Mentorship program.
Bradley ‘91, Mercersburg’s Black Alumni Association Board Treasurer and Mentor/Mentee Program Director, said, “This is a great opportunity for students to connect with a Mercersburg graduate who can offer insight, advice, opportunity and help navigate the next stages of their academic career,” said Bradley.
“The kids will be contacting mentors by texting and setting up a Zoom call with them,” Malone said. Ideally, students will have access to mentors in order to ask them questions, navigate tough situations and network for life after high school. “The emphasis of the program is putting the ownership on both the individual mentee and the mentor to form that relationship. Typically, the relationships which work out really well meet anywhere from once a week or more to once a couple of months; it depends on the student’s needs,” said Jamar Galbreath ‘03, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.
While the BSU Alumni group has been in place for a few years now, its role is expanding to include extended work with students, including the mentorship program. “It was a collaborative idea. There were student voices which expressed that they wanted to have more engagement and a better idea of how to navigate Mercersburg and beyond. Alumni also reached back, wanting to connect more with the students on campus,” said Mr. Galbreath.
Alumni Tonya Rutherford ‘92, Jamil Myrie ‘93, and Bradley were key players in the creation of the BSU Alumni Mentorship program. “I was a founding member and the founding president of what was then known as the African American Student Union at Mercersburg. Until 2019, when my classmates and I organized the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the BSU, there hadn't been a formal way of connecting Black students with Black alumni,” said Rutherford.
Students have demonstrated their appreciation for this opportunity to connect. “I learned a lot about other people, black alumni in their own professions, and I actually got some help in the college process,” said Kaori Graham-Myrie ‘24. “Hearing a lot of different things from different perspectives was very helpful. To me, the mentorship program is mostly for having someone to talk to for help in college and planning at school,” Cyn Carter ‘25 said.
Keri-Ann Dennis ‘25, co-president of BSU connected with alumni to get feedback on how to better support BSU efforts. “I went to the meeting at Family and Alumni weekend and met some of the alumni there. They were really helpful in helping us plan for the school year, especially as president of the BSU, since my role is to plan things. They also gave me a perspective on how to make school more inclusive,” she said.
Overall, this mentorship program is an opportunity for BSU members to create connections with people who’ve already experienced the challenges of being black at Mercersburg. “We are very excited about this project & strongly encourage you to sign-up & participate in Mercersburg’s Black Alumni Association mentoring program,” said Bradley.