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J.B. Martin begins second year of HOSTS program

STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / October 5, 1998

PARADIS – Community mentors determined to Help One Student to Succeed this year were welcomed at J.B. Martin Middle School’s HOSTS kick-offcelebration.

Now beginning its second year, the school’s HOSTS program offers language arts and mathematics skill enhancement for students who need educational development in these areas. HOSTS math instructor Gwen Hittsaid last year’s program was tremendously effective, and 100 mentors volunteered to guide and teach throughout this fiscal school year.

Last year’s HOSTS final report showed that 94 percent of all seventh- grade students who were enrolled in HOSTS passed the state mandated LEAP math test. Hitt said 32 out of 34 students met the requirements forseventh grade LEAP. Also, 100 percent of the students enrolled in HOSTSshowed improvement on the Math Placement Inventory with a gain of 26 percentage points per student.

Performance in the classroom has also been improved, Hitt said. Regularclassroom teachers reported that 94 percent of the HOSTS students showed increased performance in the regular classroom, and this increase was recorded on pre and post Teacher Observation Checklist surveys.

It was stated in the report that 64 percent of HOSTS students had fewer or no referrals compared to the previous year, and a total of 900 mentoring sessions were donated.

The recent kick-off celebration recognized last year’s mentors and welcomed in the new volunteers. Marty Eitmann, one of last year’s HOSTSmentors, gave a personal testimony of his experiences with his student.

“You’re probably going to be assigned someone you don’t know, and some of these students have problems,” Eitmann said. “But for these students tocome forward for help is a brave thing to do.

“We’re taught to respect older people, but we need to respect these kids for what they will become,” he said.

District Judge Emile St. Pierre was keynote speaker and explained thatimproving society begins with improving its youth. He said mentors areheroes.

“Anyone who takes an hour a week to tutor a child needs to be commended, and each of you is a hero,” St. Pierre said. “You’re taking time to care foranother human being, and you’re giving them hope. Children spell love, T-I-M-E.”The welcome and overview of the HOSTS program were given by HOSTS language arts instructor Erin Raiford and Hitt. Other event coordinatorsincluded Amy Sampey, Shannon Templet and Diane Rochelle, principal of J.B. Martin.”Once you help a child as a mentor, your life is never, ever the same,” Rochelle said.

Area businesses involved in mentoring include Avondale Shipyards Division, CXY Chemicals – Taft, Cytec Industries, Entergy Operations, Inc.,For Heaven’s Sake, First National Bank of St. Charles, McDonald’s, NAS FireDepartment, Monsanto, Nicholls State University, Oxychem, St. AnneGeneral Hospital, St. Charles Hospital, St. Charles Natural Gas Co., St.Charles Parish School System, Texaco Natural Gas – Bridgeline, Union Carbide and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Department.

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