Fresh faces join the SSP mentor list


Mackenzie Malone, Guest Reporter

The Senior Sophomore Program, otherwise known as SSP, is a staple at Utica High School. For years, the program has been away for the incoming sophomores to adjust to busy high school life with senior students as their guides and mentors.

“My SSP mentors helped me out a lot,” sophomore Julia Clements said. “They helped me make friends and gave me advice for years to come.”

During each of the lunches, a group of mentors are selected by the staff advisers to entertain and engage with the sophomores.

“We want to make the transition from junior high to high school as easy as possible for the incoming sophomores,” junior Angelo Zeolla said, “and make Utica feel like home to them.”

As the school year comes to the end and current SSP mentors are about to graduate, the program was in need of replacements for the next school year. 19 rising seniors were selected for the role of mentors after the application process that included an interview with teachers John See, Tammy Hilliard, Julie Wright, and Diane Buchi.

In selecting students to become mentors, teachers are looking for students that stand out in the crowd and can be creative.

“I knew the best thing I could do in my interview was just be myself,” junior Nate Montalbano said.

The program might target incoming sophomores but it is just as fun and beneficial for the seniors. They are given the opportunity to adapt better leadership skills, develop new relationships, and leave a lasting impact.

“SSP is the best way for me to leave my mark on the underclassman and help them enjoy high school as much as I have,” Zeolla said.

The 2018-2019 school year will kick of in September with a new influx of new and nervous sophomores. SSP mentors will start off their Senior year by helping make a difference in the sophomores lives.