New “Be GREAT: Graduate” Program

The Boys & Girls Club of Fond du Lac’s brand new Be GREAT: Graduate program, in partnership with the Fond du Lac School District, is designed to help students succeed in school and graduate. Be GREAT: Graduate is a nationally recognized dropout prevention program designed to enhance each youth’s engagement with learning by providing consistent support and helping members graduate from high school on time with a plan to be college-, community-, or career-ready after graduation.

The program enrolls freshman and sophomore students who are struggling with academics, attendance, and/or behavior. These students can be referred by counselors, teachers or even parents who feel their student could benefit from having extra support on the journey to graduation. Overall, ensuring students improve is the main priority. Sophomore Javar Evans said, “The program helps me get more of my homework done and helps me stay motivated to do my work and get better grades.” This program is a mentorship that allows the student to get the help and motivation they need to graduate.  Demond Mettlach, the Club’s graduation specialist, said, “Some of the students don’t want to graduate or are behind and not on track to finish. Our role is to lead the way and get them back on the path to graduation.

The Be GREAT: Graduate program has one specific guideline: whoever participates must meet with Mettlach at least once every week. That meeting consists of going over grades and attendance, and addressing any concerns they may have. The overall success of the students is the ultimate goal of the graduation specialist. Sophomore Diondre Clapper said, “This program has helped me stay focused on my goals and strive for greatness in everything I do.” Mettlach is there to help the enrolled students, not just with academics but anything else they might need assistance with.

A typical day running this program within the high school involves meeting with students in the beginning of every class period. The students themselves have developed rules and expectations they are held accountable for. Lunch periods are utilized by Mettlach, allowing enrolled student to spend time with him in his classroom to catch up, eat their lunch and watch whatever entertaining movie he has playing at the moment. The classroom windows were also decorated by the students; inside there are puzzles, games, coloring books, blankets and comfy bean bag chairs. Chess and Bop-it are the most popular activities in the classroom when students aren’t working on their homework. Above all, the Be GREAT: Graduate program helps to enhance the supportive environment of Fond du Lac High School with additional spaces and activities that motivate students to attend and participate on all levels.

There are 25 students enrolled in the Be GREAT: Graduate program so far this school year. Of the students, Mettlach said, “During the short time I have been mentoring these students, I have seen a lot of academic and personal growth taking place within each of them. Some have come out of their shell and talk a little more now; others have gotten their grades up and can’t wait to tell me about it. What I love most about this job is being able to help my students and the connections I have formed with them. My goal is to see my students graduate, as well as build a solid relationship that allows them to be comfortable enough to come to me for help whenever they need it.”

For more information regarding this program, please contact the Boys & Girls Club via email or Principal Matt Steinbarth at Fond du Lac High School at 920-929-2740.