Gilman’s long standing Mentoring Program is coming up with new ways to connect its Upper School mentors and their Lower or Middle School mentees so that they may continue to come together for support and fellowship. One such meetup for the 40 pairs of students was a virtual visit from award-winning author-illustrator Chris Soentpiet (pronounced “soon-peet”) at the end of January. His work has been featured in the New York Times and USA Today, among other publications, and reflects his interest in people, history, and culture.
In December, mentors wrote personal messages that were delivered to their mentees along with a copy of “Amazing Faces,” authored by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Mr. Soentpiet. Through its 16 poems by a variety of impressive writers, the book explores themes of similarities and differences, respect, pride, identity, self-esteem, and adversity. The poetry collection alongside intricate, photo-like images was chosen for its appeal to readers of all ages and its invitation to discuss both the written and visual material to different depths.
The Mentoring Program has held additional events that provided virtually connected experiences, including a Zoom paint night with Lower School art teacher Trevlin Alexander, a class with chef and owner of Liliahna, Brendon Hudson ‘12, who walked students through baking his five-ingredient sugar cookies, and a fall-inspired gathering where the group decorated pumpkins.