ISJ Essay: College Mentoring Program St. Ignatius Loyola and LSA Partnership

Jun 7, 2023

“I didn’t think I was going to college.” “It was a pleasure, a joy, one of the most satisfying engagements of my life.” These are quotes expressed by a mentee and a mentor during the celebration of our fledgling LSA-ISJ College Access Program, held at Wallace Hall on Saturday, June 3rd. The hall was transformed, the tables were adorned with graduation decorations, and the proud achievements of our graduates were run on a loop on the video screen. The LSA moms contributed delicious home-cooked food. St. Ignatius brought drinks, cheese, fruit, and cookies.

Melina Gonzalez, LSA, and Fr. Yesalonia welcomed everyone to the celebration. Each mentor spoke in glowing tributes about their student and presented them with a graduation certificate and a gift card. The students expressed gratitude to their mentors and the College Access Program. It was the culmination of a year’s work with students and mentors, supplemented with guidance from parents, Melina, and Lucia. During his welcome, Fr. Yesalonia gave sage advice to the graduates, expressed the importance of continuing their education, and highlighted our faith’s role in providing support.  

Last year when the program started, one of the students wanted to go to a top-tier school. Nick Naccari and Fran Magenheimer mentored her and delighted in her growth. She received a full scholarship to Holy Cross and will start this fall. Fr. Yesalonia was proud to inform us that this graduate would attend his alma mater. Another student joined the program with no ambition to go to college. She just wanted to please her mother. After a few months of work with Dolores and Terry Quinn, the student realized that she could not only succeed in college but also develop her artistic talent in her dream school. She was awarded a full scholarship to FIT. Another student who was hesitant to go to college grew confident under Peter Wood’s guidance and will start at CUNY Hostos Community College. Christine Meyer mentored our fourth student. She is interested in aeronautics and chose CUNY York for its Aviation Institute. Laura Silvius’s mentee will matriculate at Baruch in the fall. We are so proud and in awe of the students and their mentors.

Next year, our mentors will continue to mentor their students during their first year in college. We’ve also matched up four rising seniors with ISJ mentors and are grateful for our robust partnership with LSA. For next year’s graduates, the program has already begun. Some of the families were in attendance at Saturday’s celebration, as this event marked both an end and a beginning of what we endeavor to be a cycle of success.

— Jimmy Coffey