Girls complete mentoring program

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WILTON – The principals of two SAD 9 schools gave advice to 18 fifth- and sixth-grade girls who completed a year-long mentoring program Thursday night at Wilton’s Academy Hill School.

Darlene Paine, principal of Academy Hill School, and Tracy Douglass, principal of Mallet School, talked up the value of learning to work to pay for necessities and other things in their own childhoods, although both said at the time, they didn’t much like working.

Douglass advised the girls to “picture what you want to have happen” and then go for it.

Paine told the girls during her own childhood, she played baseball at home with her father and brothers. But the family only went to watch the boys’ Little League games, since little league for girls didn’t exist then. Now, girls have more opportunities, she said.

Her advice to the girls was to “do more than your share do the job right the first time,” but do not to feel too bad when they mess up. “Sometimes I flub up,” she said.

She also advised them to choose a profession they think they’ll love, since “we (adults) spend a lot of time working,” and “don’t let falling in love change your plans – you can do both.”

Girl Talk was developed as a way to “raise girls’ aspirations” and help preteens find adult female role models (aside from their mothers), said program spokeswoman Lucinda Poulin, who teaches fifth grade at Academy Hill. Each girl was assigned a mentor at the beginning of the school year, and each month both mentor and student read a book featuring a strong female protagonist. At the monthly meetings, they discuss the book, do activities, have a meal, chat and laugh, and occasionally participate in a community service project.

The girls said they really enjoyed the program.

Participating were: Tiffany Aggas, Kristen Brown, Gabby Foy, Erick Gray, Meg Hall, Jennifer Hatch, Kaitlyn Hilderbran, Amy Hilton, Sarah Jacques, Ruth Leopold, Caley Miranda, Savanah Mitchell, Jaycee Mullen, Mickayla Powers, Katie Prestridge, Macey Smith, Kayla Thurlow and Autumn Vining.

When Paine and Douglass finished speaking, the girls talked with their mentors about what they liked best about the program. As is usual when women get together, there was lots of laughter.

“It’s always nice for females to do things together,” mentor Sue Boyce-Cormier said.

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