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Ex-Del Mar students, now at Redwood, launch mentor program for eighth-graders

Redwood High School seniors Anna Royal and Sophia Ayaz visit Del Mar Middle School, where they launched a mentoring program to help eighth-graders prepare for the transition to high school and get on track for college. (Clara Lu / For The Ark)

Sophia Ayaz and Anna Royal remember how intimidating the transition was from Del Mar Middle School to Redwood High School. As incoming freshman, the Tiburon teens prepared as best they could. Sophia spoke to school counselors to try to figure out what classes she should take, while Anna downloaded different four-year plans she found on the school’s website and tried to map out her future, learning about several programs offered by the school that she had never heard of.

Now in their senior year, the girls say there are several things they wish they had known to help them along the way, from which math class to take freshman year to understanding that colleges like to see four consistent years of language classes on transcripts to realizing that Redwood students can take courses at the College of Marin.

Last year, they decided to launch a peer-mentoring program for students at Del Mar school who are headed to Redwood. They met weekly over Zoom for about five weeks with a dozen or so eighth-graders, talking them through course selection, extracurriculars, the school’s social scene and more. They’re gearing up to start a second year of the program this spring.

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