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Temple ISD kicks off return of annual Wildcat Mentor program

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 29, 2022

TEMPLE, Texas — Temple ISD's Wildcat Mentorship program kicked off a new year at the Ralph Wilson Youth Club on Thursday.

Roughly 120 students were partnered with community mentors and many told 25 News they were really excited about this opportunity.

Conner Dale is a Temple ISD 6th grader. This is his second year in the Wildcat Mentorship Program. He has the same mentor, but this time it's a little different.

Conner's best friend, Connor Miller, is also part of the program this year and the two share the same mentor, Scott Seela.

"They made it very easy for me to remember their names," Seela joked.

Seela is a children's minister in Temple who's been a part of the program since it first started 14 years ago.

"Each time's been different, each student's been different," he told 25 News. "There's been some tough ones, there's been some ones that make me laugh all the time. There's been some that have had some rough life struggles and others that are just really fun to hang out with."

"He's the best," Dale said. "Sometimes he brings me lunch, sometimes he eats lunch with me at school."

The program was made for 5th and 6th-grade students. Mentors visit their school twice a month during their lunch periods to talk about life and help prepare them for the switch to junior high.

"The goal is for our community members to just come alongside our students and teach them valuable lessons, be it how to be better communicator or how to do better in school," Program Chair Kristi Burke said.

"A lot of influencers are coming in and there's a lot of stuff they're seeing more and more in the world, they need to see some bright spots," Seela said.

The district is still accepting new volunteers to serve as mentors. Anyone interested is encouraged to apply soon so they can be paired with a student.