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    Sunday, August 19, 2018-4:06:06A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Over 90 participate in 10th Mentor for a Meal

THE Million Dollar Scholar program, in cooperation with Marianas Young Professionals and Public School System teachers, held the 10th Mentor for a Meal event at Naked Fish on Monday evening.

Program organizer Gerard Van Gils said it was the biggest Mentor for a Meal so far, with 95 participants, including 42 high school students, who received one-on-one mentoring from professionals of various fields.mentor small

Kagman High School teachers Van Gils and Jay Sanchez initiated the program in 2015.

“We pair a professional member of our community with a high school student who is preparing to enter the higher education or the workforce,” Van Gils said in an interview.

The professional mentors pay for their dinner and sponsor their students’ meals. The program allows senior students of Marianas High School, Saipan Southern High School and Kagman High School to ask for and get career advice from professional mentors.

Van Gils said among those who participated on Monday were entrepreneurs, accountants, engineers, doctors, and government officials including Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, first lady Diann Torres, who is a former educator, and lawmakers such as Reps. Ed Propst and Vinnie Sablan.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and first lady Diann Torres pose with their mentees during the “Mentor for a Meal” event held at Naked Fish on Monday. Contributed photoGov. Ralph DLG Torres and first lady Diann Torres pose with their mentees during the “Mentor for a Meal” event held at Naked Fish on Monday. Contributed photo

Propst said he mentored Angel Legaspi, a senior from Marianas High School.

Propst and his mentee sat with Rep. Vinnie Sablan, his wife Roca, a healthcare worker and two other students 

“Some of the advice we shared with our mentees were to find their passion and a career that they will love,” Propst said.  “It was Confucius who said, ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.’  We advised them not to be so hard on themselves and to expect setbacks and disappointments and learn from their mistakes.  Nobody is perfect.  We also shared our personal experiences.”

Rep. Vinnie Sablan said it was his fourth time to participate in the Mentor for a Meal event. “I’ve always enjoyed sharing stories and experiences with the mentees in the hope that it would pave a smoother road ahead for the students. I wish there were programs like this when I was growing up.”

On Monday evening, he shared many pointers with his mentee Isabel Palacios.

“It was a real victory for public education,” Van Gil said. “We are bringing our public school students to interact with our professional community and everybody wins.”

Van Gils said the event drew positive feedback from participants including the students.

“They shared great stories online after these events,” Van Gils said. “They are sharing stories about hope and how they are optimistic about their future. They are sharing stories about the advice they got from their mentors. They are sharing advice with the other kids.”