PEAK Student-Mentor Interviews

Looking back with PEAK senior Esme Flores and her mentor, Olga Rouditchenko

Tell us about your favorite experience with each other.

Esme: I had several amazing and unforgettable experiences with my mentor but my favorite one was when we ran our first 5k race together (The Color Run). At that time, she was training for the Chicago Marathon so it was a piece of cake for her while I was struggling to keep up. Despite the hot weather and my tiredness, it was a fun experience.

Olga: I loved seeing Esme's eyes light up from the various flavors as she tried sushi for the very first time.

How has Olga impacted your life over the past four years?

Esme: Over the past four years, my mentor has affected my life in a positive way. She has always taught me the importance of working hard everyday and not giving up. For example, when I would tell her that I was feeling stressed with school and having to manage my time with sports and homework, she would motivate me to keep pushing myself because of day all my hard work would pay off. Not only has she taught me to take initiative in my work, but also the importance of being a good person.

And Esme?

Olga: She showed me how to become a better person and how to see the greatness in our day to day lives.

What advice do you have for the subsequent PEAK Classes?

Esme: Build a strong relationship with your mentor and appreciate the little things they do because they are giving up their time to be with you and they have good intentions toward you. Also, don't be afraid to open up to your mentor. They should be like an older sister or brother who is willing to help you achieve your dreams and be successful.

Do you have any advice for future mentors?

Olga: Now is the time to be open and try new things to find and understand yourself.

Senior Alyce Roberson gives us a glimpse into her relationship with her mentor, Marissa Martin​

How would you describe Marissa?

When I first met my mentor, we shared similar interests. Marissa was also a joy to be around and we went to restaurants that I've never been to before.

Tell us about your favorite experience with Marissa.

We had dinner at her house and it was different than going out to a regular restaurant. It was an opportunity to connect differently and talk with no distractions.

How has Marissa impacted your life?

Marissa has impacted my life in an empowering way. She has been there for me when I wasn't able to turn to anyone else. She has always been there for me and I'm truly grateful for that.

What advice do you have for the subsequent PEAK Classes?

Always push through when times get hard because that will push you to come out victorious and work even harder.

Do you have any advice for future mentors?

You will always be appreciated in ways you wouldn't imagine.

Senior Scholar Briana Velasco gives us the scoop on her mentor, Maura Daly

How would you describe Maura?

Out-going and peppy.

Tell us about your favorite experience with Maura.

We went to the Art Institute and saw really cool exhibits. My favorite was the Fashionista exhibit.

How has Maura impacted your life over the past four years?

She taught me to be more planned out and determined even when my teenage personality didn't want to be on top of things.

What advice do you have for the subsequent PEAK Classes?

Always do your best. You were blessed with a full ride scholarship, so the least you can do is give back by getting good grades and growing to be a leader and a role model.

Do you have any advice for future mentors?

Be attentive to your mentee. They see you as another friend and family member. They want to do fun things and create an amazing, long lasting relationship so be there to make that relationship with them and be responsible for leading them to have the best mentoring experience.

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Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids   1443 W Division St. Chicago, IL 60642   (773) 235-8003