On Being a Capstone Mentor

Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: March 8th, 2019
Brendan Largay, Head of School

We are on the eve of Capstone week. In two weeks, once we have learned something from our eighth grade students, I will share my thoughts on each presentation. This week, I offer a look behind the Capstone scenes to provide a different perspective on this crown jewel moment for our eighth graders.

A myth about Capstone is that it is singularly an eighth grade experience. Part of the program’s magic lies in the relationships between students and their mentors. These mentors come from all walks of Belmont Day life—from lower school teachers, building and grounds crew, business office staff, specialists, to administrators and middle school advisors. They each serve as a guide for an eighth grade student. While many of you have a general idea of what it is to be a Capstone mentor, I would like to highlight what we mean when we invite faculty and staff to mentor a student.

Capstone mentorship invites adults in our community to be learners. We commit to lifelong learning here at BDS, and the experience of the mentor is deeply rooted in that commitment. Mentors have the pleasure of learning about their mentee’s subject area—topics like public transportation, fear of snakes, the impact of steroids in sports, and gender discrimination in the music industry. The rich and wide variety of topics are not necessarily areas of expertise for mentors, so we get the exceptional opportunity to learn from, and alongside our mentees.

Some of the best community-building moments take place in a culture of collective problem-solving and risk-taking. Through mentorship, adults in our community collaborate and contribute to this culture. There is real magic in watching the entire community rally around the successful learning of our eighth grade students.

The excitement in the faculty room about Capstone builds throughout the year with conversations about student topics and what we have learned from our mentees. Capstone provides a galvanizing moment for our community to gather around the proverbial table to discover something together.

Capstone inspires wonder and awe in the community that comes together to honor each student's journey. Lifelong learning, community building, and wonder delightfully echo the Capstone mantra: learn, do, share. I hope to see many of you at the students' presentations this coming week to honor their hard work, and join in this exciting community celebration at Belmont Day. And, if you see Jen Friborg in your travels, congratulate her. Her organization and coordination of the Capstone experience are pretty awe-inspiring in their own right.

Have a great weekend everyone. See you for Capstone next week!

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