Meet Richelys Senior, Fenway High School

Do you remember how intimidating it was to raise your hand in class – exposing yourself to potential criticism and judgment from your peers? For a teenager, participating in class can often feel like being forced onto a stage.

That was the case for Richelys, now a senior at Fenway High School. Like many students, Richelys struggled with participation because she was hesitant to ask questions — she didn't like that feeling of being in the spotlight and was afraid of failing in front of her classmates.

But sometimes all we need is someone to encourage us. In Richelys’ case, this support arrived during her junior year.

Richelys was matched with Andrew, a mentor from Boston Partners in Education who would visit her in the classroom every Friday. In addition to practicing math, she and Andrew would work on building confidence each week.

They began to develop a system — Richelys would check in with Andrew before she raised her hand. These little mentor moments would grow to be significant. Richelys’ participation increased and her understanding of the material followed.

“When Andrew would come to my school, I would look forward to it because I liked having the extra help. I would feel better asking my mentor questions one-on-one.”

Richelys was especially nervous about her Junior Review, an opportunity to publicly reflect on three years’ worth of academic work and personal growth. She was at the Museum of Science, about to present in front of a large audience of teachers, peers, and community members. As she waited by the side of the stage, she was surprised to spot a familiar face in the crowd — her mentor, Andrew.

Richelys began to cry. She was overwhelmed — not by nerves but with relief. With a boost of confidence from her mentor, Richelys took the stage and described how she had grown over that year — from being afraid to ask questions to being able to face her fears on a public stage.

Richelys celebrates after the completion of her Junior Review with her supporters from Fenway High School

Sometimes all we need to be our most confident self is support. Because of generous friends like you, students like Richelys are able to build the confidence they need to fulfill their dreams.

After graduation this year, Richelys plans to train as an EMT. She knows for certain that she wants a career that will help others right here in Boston, and she’s ready to give back to her community — just like her mentor did for her.

This holiday season, we invite you to help us support more students like Richelys. You can make her experience a reality for students all across the Boston Public Schools. Your donation today enables us to recruit, train, and match more mentors to work with students directly in the classroom.

By raising your hand in support of mentoring, you can help students raise theirs.