Kathryn and Rebecca

June 2022 TeamMates of the Month: Growing Together

A high school library can be more bustling than one might expect. Nearing the end of the school year, students gather around tables, reviewing for finals or chatting about summer plans. At one North Star High School table, you’ll find Rebecca, a junior, and her TeamMates mentor Kathryn. During a visit a few weeks ago, you would have also seen Kathryn’s newborn daughter, contentedly asleep in her carseat.

Meeting Kathryn’s baby recently is now one of Rebecca’s favorite memories of their entire seven years as TeamMates. Rebecca has a passion for working with children, and plans to pursue early childhood education to work with newborns through preschool-aged kids.

Kathryn enjoyed seeing “the biggest smile” from Rebecca when she surprised her with their special guest during one of their recent meetings. “Over the years I’ve gotten to know her family from TeamMates events like Dawes Family Night and some awards like the TeamMates recognition dinner,” said Kathryn. “It’s just really cool. She’s met my husband and now she can meet my children.”

Attending TeamMates Recognition Celebration was a highlight for Kathryn, who was inducted into the Mentor Hall of Fame in 2019 per her mentee’s nomination. The following year, Kathryn nominated Rebecca for the Student Achievement Award.

“It was pretty dang cool because I’ve never been recognized for something I’ve done,” said Rebecca. Although she was nervous to walk on the stage to accept her award, the affirmation from her mentor confirmed her personal growth and their growing friendship.

“Some of our greatest growth was between middle school and high school,” said Kathryn. “Just the things she’s sharing with me, I can tell she’s a lot more trusting and maturing. It’s definitely shifted from the crafts, play and games to discussing the future, jobs and aspirations for life.”

“I started realizing this is a person I can go and talk to if there’s something wrong at school or home or with my friends,” said Rebecca. “Sometimes she has also experienced some of the problems I’ve gone through. She’s good at helping problem-solve. I’ve been through a lot, and she’s helped me deal with it. Some days I’m upset about something and my day turns from sadness, upside down to a good rest of the day.”

“I feel the same way,” said Kathryn. “She is growing into a servant leader, just caring for other people and making sure that everyone else is taken care of before she is. A couple weeks ago, she saw a kid on crutches. She went out of her way to hold the door open just to make sure he could get in without issue. It’s little things like that where you see her growth, maturity and transformation from this little kid to this teenager to an emerging adult.”

Rebecca and Kathryn at the 2020 Recognition Celebration, where Rebecca received a Student Achievement Award.

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