GBF mentor pairs and families enjoyed a great evening on May 29 at our 19th annual mentor appreciation celebration. African dance and drumming by Jeh Kulu, pot luck dinner and make your own ice cream sundaes.
Congratulations to Sanella Bikic, a graduating senior at Montpelier High School. Sanela has been a mentee in Girls/Boyz First Mentoring since 2010. She is a Bosnian immigrant. Sanela has had the good fortune of having three mentors during this time, Amanda Payne, Alyssa Reed and her current mentor, Amy Cunningham. Amy and Sanela began their mentoring relationship as a pair in Everybody Wins, a statewide reading mentoring program, and transferred into Girls/Boyz First in 2012.
“I am honored that all of my hard work has paid off”, said Sanela Bikic, who graduates from Montpelier High School this June. This past January, Sanela was recognized, along with 30 other Vermont high school seniors in a ceremony at the Vermont Statehouse as a Presidential Scholar Nominee. The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, established in 1964, recognizes and honors some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Sanela was nominated for this scholarship by her teachers at the Barre Tech Center, where she has participated in the medical professional program this year.
“My mentors helped me develop my communication skills, become more mature and learn how to go into the world ready for a job”, says Sanela. “Through creative projects like sewing clothing for my American Girl Dolls, decorating my room, baking and various other art projects over the years, I developed a sense of myself as a creative person. I figured out in high school that it is through my creativity that I learn best!” Currently, when she is not in school, Sanela works at Rite Aid and the Gary Home. She owns a car that she bought with her own money. Sanela’s short term goals include applying for and receiving her American citizenship and deciding on her post high school educational plans. Sanela is exploring her long term goals to become an RN with a specialization in maternal child health. She is interested in possibly pursuing a career in public health.
Amy believes Sanela’s strengths lie in her innate wisdom (“she is an old soul”), her sense of compassion and fairness, her incredible organizational skills and her great sense of humor. Amy hopes that Sanela finds a career where she can use her gifts to help others, that she continues to be creative, connected and happy, noticing life’s beauty along the way.
Vermont’s presidential scholarship nominees exemplify the strengths of Vermont’s education system, one of the best in the nation,” according to Vermont Secretary of Education, Dan French. “Our students have excelled in science, math, history and the arts, and a diverse range of CTE programs. I am very proud of their excellence and hard work and I wish them the best as they represent our state at the national level for this award.”
Girls/Boyz First is proud of Sanela and her successes and wish her all the best in her post high school plans.
Mentor pairs and families gathered at the Vermont State House in May to celebrate each other and our program. Maple Jam, a Vermont a cappella group, provided us with musical entertainment and a delicious pot luck was shared by all.
And enjoying dessert. Community service is always a great idea for mentor pairs.