Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, AZ

"Mentoring makes a difference"

High schoolers at Mountain Ridge organize on #RidgeGivesDay to provide service and give back to their community. (Credit: Debbie Moore)

Mountain Ridge High School has started a mentoring program to make our community a better place. We wanted to bridge the gap between the upper and underclassmen students. Our goal is to build positive connections between all grade levels while also helping freshman students have a positive experience transitioning into high school. The school has always been about “Respecting the Ridge,” but this year the emphasis is to demonstrate respect, kindness, and empathy for each individual. We are hoping that by implementing a freshman mentoring program, a culture of caring would transpire. There were 127 students who were chosen for this program because they were nominated by their teachers. These students had to demonstrate strong leadership skills, be energetic, motivated, and solid in their academics.

Stories About Mountain Ridge High School

We created a special Freshman First Day at Mountain Ridge High School. In order to prepare for the Freshman First Day, they formed committees based on their strengths and areas of interest. Each committee had to elect a leader, and develop activities for the event. Then the mentors were matched up with about five to ten freshman students who they would support throughout the school year. Out of over 600 freshman students who were expected to attend Mountain Ridge, over 400 attended the Freshman First Day. We consider this a huge success!

Freshman First Day consisted of:

  • Students putting Post-it notes in the classes for their team to see each hour.
  • A football tailgate party for freshman mentors and their team.
  • A basketball game and pizza night for mentors and teams.
  • Encouraging groups to eat and perform random acts of kindness together.
  • Participation in #RidgeGivesDay for mentors and teams. Mountain Ridge High School coordinates many of its students to assist on and off campus with various projects to say “thank you” to our community!
Making a clean sweep on #RidgeGivesDay. (Credit: Debbie Moore)

On-campus initiatives that make Mountain Ridge nice are our Best Buddies Garden Project and our car wash and rummage sale to benefit the St. Mary’s Food Bank. We also do gum removal from tables, painting of the trash cans, and campus beautification projects.

Students put a little elbow grease into their carwash benefitting St. Mary’s Foodbank. (Credit: Debbie Moore)

Off-campus projects have included technology training for senior citizens, painting homes for the elderly, Habitat for Humanity, blanket drives for the homeless, pet food/blanket drives, volunteering at a pet shelter, cleaning stalls at a special needs horse therapy site, and many more projects. DECA, FBLA, Mentor Teams, the Art Club, Engineering/SkillsUSA, STUGO, Interact, and NHS have all participated.

The work is done by students, teachers, and parents from Mountain Ridge High School. We were inspired by the work of Texas A&M to create a high school event similar to their Big Event.