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Reagan PALS student named Mentor of the year

Samir with his award

Samir (middle) accepted his award on Jan. 10 as he takes a photo with PALS advisor Suellen Foxhall (left) and his dad Kamal Wahdwania (right).

What is a mentor? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. A mentor may bring to mind an adult working with a child; for example an adult male working in the Big Brother program, even a coach, or perhaps a teacher. But for many students at North East ISD elementary schools, when they think of a mentor, they speak of a high school PALS student who in some way helped in their life.

Reagan High School PALS (Peer Assistance, Leadership, and Service) student, Samir Wadhwania, was awarded the Outstanding High School Student Mentor Award presented at the San Antonio Mentoring Forum (SAMF) annual mentor recognition luncheon on Jan. 10. The luncheon was a part of the 2014 Texas Summit for Mentoring coordinated by the UTSA office of P-20 Initiatives and the San Antonio Mentoring Forum.

Suellen Foxhall and Jennifer Esparza, Reagan PALS advisors, nominated Samir for the award. The defining factor in Samir's recognition was Joey; a student at Las Lomas Elementary School. Joey explained the positive relationship he had with his pal Samir:

“My pal Samir is the nicest person I’ve met. He would always be nice to me, give me mentor talks about my work and would love to play anything I wanted to. He is really awesome," said Joey. "Once, I got in trouble and humiliated my school so he thought I should make a card for the school and the college we went to visit. For my Mom’s birthday he helped me make a card and it looked really cool. He is the best friend ever.”

Samir may have enjoyed hoisting his trophy at the presentation; but the knowledge that he helped make one young person’s life a little better was sufficient. Great students and mentors like Samir and other PALS students throughout the district change lives of students every day; taking us one step closer to a better world to live in.

Posted on January 13, 2014