Class, mentors help Oklahoma City boys find direction

Volunteers from throughout the community are dedicating their weekends and afternoons to mentor boys in seventh grade at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City. The idea is called Project BOLD: Bridging Opportunities for Leadership Development.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Modified: September 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm •  Published: September 21, 2012
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Warren Pete knows what his students' lives are like. He grew up just like they did.

Pete graduated from John Marshall High School and now he's one of the assistant principals there.

“I wasn't supposed to make it,” he said, “but somebody believed in me.”

An older student took Pete under his wing when the struggling student was only 13. His mentor asked him where he was going to college. He told him to stay out of trouble and stay in class. He helped Pete find his way.

So Pete created a program designed to give other boys at John Marshall a similar experience. It's called Project BOLD: Bridging Opportunities for Leadership Development.

Seventh-grade boys go to a class Pete teaches during the week, and they spend every other Saturday at school. A program for girls is in the works.

One bright Saturday morning, the library at John Marshall smelled like waffles after the group of teen boys and their mentors finished eating breakfast cooked by Pete's wife and other volunteers.

Mary Teal, an assistant accounting professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, addressed the students.

“You become ready for your position in life — because you have one,” Teal said. “You just have to travel to get there.”

She encouraged them to stay out of trouble and always “have something to do tomorrow.”

She asked them what they wanted to do and hands shot up. Go into the military. Become an engineer. Sell real estate. Develop new technology. Cure cancer.

Those aspirations are reachable, Pete said, if students are willing to work. Project BOLD is designed to teach the connection between goals, education and staying out of trouble.

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