Seniors giving more than two cents for mentorship


As Senior Mentorship approaches some Seniors without cars are struggling to find transportation.

Nina Kolodchak

Mentorship is a must for all seniors at MCVSD schools, offering them a one marking period work experience with a program of their choosing. Students are given a valuable opportunity – if they have a car, that is. Unfortunately, getting a license and car can be time-consuming and expensive, which makes it difficult for students to get to and from mentorship on their own.

Senior Jasper Talmage of Middletown stated that since MCVSD schools do not offer free driver’s education courses like other schools in New Jersey, the price of these courses adds unnecessary stress to getting a driver’s license. “It is a graduation requirement to go to mentorship and find transportation, even though Monmouth County doesn’t have great public transportation, and Communications High School doesn’t offer free driver’s ed while other public schools in New Jersey do,” Talmage said. “The fact that that isn’t offered for free, even though mentorship is a requirement, makes it incredibly inaccessible and stressful when it doesn’t need to be.”

To get a driver’s license, students must be at least 17 years old, meaning that seniors with later birthdates are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting to and from mentorship. If someone doesn’t have a driver’s license, a car or simply isn’t allowed to drive, they must find an alternate method to fulfill this graduation requirement.

Even though transportation through family members is an option, there is no guarantee that they will be available on all days of mentorship. Senior Blu Gaines of Shrewsbury stated that finding someone who is available to drive them has been difficult, especially when both of their parents work.

“For mentorship, my grandmother is going to be the one driving me. Unfortunately, since it is an entire quarter, she’s not going to be available for twelve mentorship days, so I am left without any transportation at those times,” Gaines said. “One of those days, I might have to Uber or even walk. It doesn’t work when you have working parents, and it doesn’t work if you don’t have a driver’s license.”

Even for students with more experience on the road, a car can be an expensive investment. For those with parents who are employed, they may need to buy their own car as a form of transportation. Seniors who were not planning on purchasing a car find it more convenient to do so, which is not an affordable option for everyone.

Senior Brooke Sheroke of Keyport said that transportation for mentorship led her to purchase a car, which she had not planned on given its financial burden.

“I think the mentorship relies heavily on students having their own cars, but not everyone can afford this, and even those who can are affected by factors like gas prices,” Sheroke said. “I use half the tank getting to and from school, since I live farther away, and I have to spend up to fifty dollars on gas per week. The car that I have was purchased specifically for mentorship and it’s expensive, especially with the maintenance that comes with it.”

Senior Mary Jodry of Neptune City said that though mentorship offers an array of opportunities, transportation can be inaccessible due to multiple factors.

“I believe that mentorship is a good opportunity and even though I haven’t found a problem with it, I do recognize that it is a significant amount of gas usage in either direction,” Jodry said. “I could definitely see that being difficult. I see why there’s a purpose to it and why we need that kind of transportation, but there should definitely still be other options.”