FMP: Friends for Freshman and Seniors

Jasmine Pulver, Reporter

2020/2021 FMP members

FMP’s membership has skyrocketed to two hundred members. FMP or the Freshmen Mentor Program is a student program at Morton West High School for freshmen and seniors. The program is described as a student-buddy program which was established eight years ago by Dr. Joshua McMahon and is based on a similar program from another school.

Matthew Dugan, an Assistant Principal at Morton West High School, believes the program will continue to grow strong even through the hardships of Covid-19 and this pandemic. Dugan said “I think this is the most challenging year, from everything I’ve heard from Mr. Moir, this is the most challenging year by far and from the other FMP’s, which we have made it through this year fairly well. All things considered, I don’t see why this would stop, I don’t see why this would ever go away. I think it’s just too good of a resource and there are too many kids, both freshmen and the FMP’s themselves that benefit from this program. So, there’s no reason for it to stop anytime soon.” Covid-19 has made the year difficult for both FMP and Freshmen. This year is like no other year Morton West High School has faced. However, Dugan believes we can overcome these challenges and the FMP program will continue.  Covid-19 has created some problems with FMP meetings, considering this is not a normal year at Morton West High School, but FMP is still pushing strong and will continue to grow as the years go on.

The FMP program has reached its highest membership this year with 200 hundred members, the highest since the program was first established. Despite the issues with Covid-19, FMP will meet both in person and in teams for activities. These activities include writing positive messages with chalk on the school’s sidewalks and other activities as the year progresses. According to Robert Moir, an English teacher, and FMP moderator, FMP will take precautions when meeting in person,  and will meet in teams this year. “If there’s ever an activity where they have to meet in person, we have a pretty extensive form to fill out by whatever adult is going to supervise it, and we got to get permission and approval from the administration. They will obviously have to do it, like for example, even when they came here to do the chalk sidewalk, we’re limited to 12 kids. They have to be in masks and maintain social distance and have to be temperature screened upon arrival, and anybody that doesn’t comply, isn’t allowed to participate. As far as teams goes, I have set them up with Microsoft Teams pages where they’re going to be sort of the teachers and they’re going to be offering some leadership opportunities for a lot of the junior/freshmen mentors and help them work with the class of 2024.” Precautions will be taken this year during FMP meetings to prevent the spread of the virus. FMP would meet in person normally if it was a normal year and not be limited on who can attend a certain activity. The FMP mentors must comply with a temperature screening before entering the building and must wear their masks to participate in the FMP activity.  FMP’s goal is to positively impact new freshmen and seniors to establish a friendship or bond between them because high school is a new experience for freshmen.

Luis Sanchez’ 21, an FMP member said FMP does have a positive impact on Morton students. “Yeah, I definitely do believe that us FMPs have a great impact on the students at Morton. Whether it’s any grade level that I see, a lot of the FMPs are just great leaders and probably one of the few kids that at Morton that just stand out to the school and make the school better.” FMP is a student-buddy program designed for freshmen to get adjusted to high school. The first year of high school can be intimating to freshmen and seniors in the FMP program can help guide them through the year. FMP positively impacts the students throughout high school because FMP students show good leadership skills and help freshmen understand that some of the seniors went through the same experiences as them when they were freshmen.

To become a member of FMP, certain training and requirements must be achieved. An FMP candidate is required to have a GPA of a B average or better (3.0 or higher), a background where they participated in clubs or organizations or sports, and show good discipline with little to no referrals. FMP’s are asked for willingness, commitment, and the flexibility to stick with the program for the long term of the school year. FMP members also train new members to have good leadership skills.