It is 7:30 am, Thursday, November 10, 2011, and several members of the Fortis Pavilion are seen standing outside the vice principal’s office at Kingston College's Melbourne Campus. They have taken time out of their busy schedules to be there. However, by the look of things, they wouldn't wish to be anywhere else. It is Mentorship Day at Melbourne, and these set of Fortisans are eager to do their part in guiding the students in an effort to preserve the high standards of Kingston College.
After worshiping with the boys, the Fortis Pavilion members make their way to the classrooms for their monthly 'mentorship talks'. The Mentorship Programme is the flagship initiative of the Fortis Pavilion, and was implemented in September 2010 out of a deep desire to improve the leadership skills, discipline, attire and education of the students. It also aims to assist the young Fortisans in making appropriate career choices.
President of the Fortis Pavilion, Wayne Robertson says, "The programme focuses on the holistic development of the students, and the ultimate aim is to mould the young men into future role models; who, after being exposed to the programme, would be sufficiently prepared to make the transition to adult life and contribute positively to the shaping of their families, communities, and country."
The interface is exciting and sees the boys actively participating by asking questions and giving their feedback on several issues that concern them. The meeting looks more like big brothers talking to their little brothers. This is the KC family. This is the Fortis spirit coming to life.
Vice Principal at the Melbourne Campus, Marguerita Hall states, “The boys have been reaching out to members of the Fortis Pavilion. They can relate to them because they were in the same position a few years ago. Even parents have been enquiring about how the Fortis Pavilion can assist their children.”
The Fortis Pavilion believes in the African saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. In fact, members have bought into the idea that the work of the Fortis Pavilion is paramount in the quest to raise the next generations of Fortisans to the highest level.
Director of the mentorship programme, Gerard Ivey asserts, “It allows us to make a positive impact on the lives of the young Fortisans by showing them better alternatives to what they see in today’s society as the way to do things. We can achieve this in very practical ways by speaking to them on topics such as leadership, coping with peer pressure, maintaining discipline, balancing sports and academics, grooming, decorum and respect for self and others. It helps to identify students who are on the wrong path, and allows us to intervene and get them back in the right direction.”
The Fortis Pavilion mentors say the more they talk with the boys, the more they realise that their mission is far from over. Some boys are in need of special attention. Many reside in depressed areas and their parents do not have money and other resources needed to send them to school all the time. Others are delinquent students with serious behavioural problems.
The Fortis Pavilion hopes that apart from giving the students a medium to vent, they can also find ways to remedy some of the challenges that the boys face.
According to Wayne Robertson, each Mentor is required to make contact with his assigned class at least one hour per month. Phase one of the programme was implemented at the Melbourne campus, while phase two is to be launched at the North Street campus in 2012.
The Fortis Pavilion President is appealing to all Old Boys to be a part of the Mentorship program. He affirms, "It will make our alma mater our community, our country and our world much better."
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Fortis Pavilion's mentorship programme, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asst. PRO, Fortis Pavilion