The first difficult transition that every scholar makes is a transition to high school. They are becoming of age, start expressing themselves in many different ways, going away from home, changing to schools outside their hometowns (villages and townships), start traveling long distances, start feeling the “beauty” of being independent from home control, etc. The parents start becoming jittery about the conduct of the children. If they have never engaged mentors, this is the time to do so. High school education mentors are experienced in dealing with young adults at this level of their education and holistic development.
At this level the children are naive in thinking that they can be independent. It is at this stage that a lot of life mistakes are made. The adolescent stage kicks in, and hormones take control. School work is competing with other emotional interests. The youth have the tendency to start defying their parents at this stage.
The parents, guardians and teachers are advised not to be hard in interacting with the children. Mentors should be the go between and engage them on the experiences they are making, especially the relationships with opposite gender. If not assisted they could be swept away by the craziness of being in love relationships. The aim of the mentorship is to help them enjoy exploring their new self without upsetting their parents (and guardians) and becoming sexually active. They must be encouraged to use their education programmes as a basis of relating to their opposite gender, e.g. encouraging them to do school work together with their fellow opposite gender schoolmates.
You want the children to be crazy about doing well in grade twelve long before they even enter that grade. Early in grade eight (RSA) they must already see grade twelve (RSA) as the milestone to achieve. The mentor is there to make them focus at this milestone. This does not mean that they should be discouraged to have fun, fantasies and other experiences suitable for their ages. That is part of life and belongs especially to their stage in human development. They should be assisted to have space for other serious aspects of life, and be victors of challenges like, drug abuse, adolescent stage, crime, early and unplanned pregnancy, alcohol abuse, etc.
At this stage children are introduced to the understanding that they are part of a collective. There are many stakeholders in their lives who have more vested interest in their future than they may think. Their parents are not the only ones that are important to them. The country as a whole is concerned about their future. Extended family members, peers, friends, and their communities are one way or another affected by their failures and successes. So, you build many reasons why they cannot afford to mess up. You make them understand that the stakes are very high.
The projects that the mentors may keep them preoccupied with could include, among others the following: searching for universities they are going study in the future, identifying various degrees or diplomas they may study toward, sourcing scholarships long in advance, potential overseas institutions they may study at, what it would take for them to be accepted at this institutions, what grades they must achieve to be accepted and be awarded scholarships, the industries and sectors that their line of studies will lead them to, the role models that followed their desired education route and where they landed in life, etc.
The mentors should guide the youth at this stage to take keen interest in extramural activities like sport, art, dance, athletics, music, community clubs, youth clubs, church activities, etc. That is the most effective way to negotiate them away from destructive activities. They must be kept busy together with their peers, including the opposite sex.
In conclusion, this is a partnership between all the stakeholders, with the mentor occupying much prominent slot in the youth’s holistic human capital development journey.