Become a Leader, Be a Friend


Bianca Shaw

Photo of students Gabrielle Schlador (right) and Eban Lanfield (left). Photo was taken Teusday, January 17 2023, at lunch playing soccer with mentor, Bianca Shaw and Claire Curran (behind the camera).

Next Friday, the opportunity to become a leader and be a friend will close. The 26th of January is the very last chance to sign up to become an options mentor, part of the Best Buddies club here at Cathedral. The Options and Academy programs are unique programs that are a staple to our community, and it is an inspiring way to make new friends and unbreakable bonds.

When signing up to be a mentor, you can expect many things. The Options community is extremely tight-knit, as the mentors are spending one on one time with their students. Every single person always works as a team to assist each other. The goal is to make sure everyone, including mentors, is supported in whatever way necessary. It’s an incredibly loving community and the teachers, in addition, go above and beyond to help both students and mentors.

“It’s something that brings the school together, like when our Options student Adam scored a basket in our teachers vs student basketball game. It’s a great way to be a part of the community in a new light and it’s tons of fun. From dance parties at lunch to just spending time with your student, it’s never a dull moment,” devoted options mentor, Bianca Shaw, exclaims. Shaw has been a member of the options program since her freshman year when she, “blindly went to a Best Buddies meeting not knowing anything about the club or the Options program. After that meeting, I knew that I wanted to get involved but as a freshman there weren’t many opportunities. Especially because that’s when covid was happening and by then there were even less ways to get involved. Sophomore year I registered for Options and it was one of the best decisions I made at Cathedral.” Even if you don’t know much about the program, signing up is guaranteed to make your time at Cathedral worthwhile.

Many of you may be wondering what an average day as a mentor may look like. In an Options period, mentors typically go to the options classroom to check in, while they get their student ready for class. From there, you and your student go to the specific class he/she may have that period. From there, you attend the specific student’s class, simply just assisting in whatever ways needed. Another plus is signing up to eat lunch with your students at lunch, playing soccer and most likely having dance battles to Taylor Swift songs. Every student is different and the routines are different for everyone, but being a mentor is being as supportive as a role model can be.

When you sign up, who will you meet? Some important people in the Options and Academy programs are Ms. Day, Ms. Sindici, Ms. Zamora, Ms. Hallare, Ms. Falo, and Dr. Burton. They’re constantly and consistently checking in to see how everyone’s doing. The most special part of the program, and the most exciting people you will meet are, of course, the students. There’s usually around 10 Options students and anywhere between 15-20 Academy students. They’re each absolutely amazing and a joy to get to work with. Shaw describes a standout student she got to know this year, “One of our incredible students is junior Nick Bailey. Nick is incredible at art and he even has his own youtube show called the Bailey Show and he loved to star in it and direct it.”

She continues to tell us, “My favorite part about being a mentor is getting involved with all the fun stuff we do out of the classroom! We do an Options soccer game and invite the school to watch and it’s fun to watch and fun to play in. Besides the stuff you want or mentors can do out of class, I personally love watching the students having fun with the activities they love. On a Friday night in the fall you can see our student, senior Gabrielle Schlador, cheering as our student, senior Adrian Calderon, is on the football team. It’s so amazing seeing the students getting equal chances to participate in the activities that they like to do.”

At Cathedral, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcomed and loved. The Best Buddies program encourages you to join their club and be a part of an unforgettable community and experience. Do not hesitate to sign up, as you will undoubtedly be forever grateful for the memories and relationships you will make. Becoming a mentor is so much more than being a leader, it is becoming a friend. Once again, the window is closing as next Friday, January 26th, is the very last chance to become a part of the most treasurable club here at Cathedral.