Fraternity mentoring program for high school students
By: JODI GOLDBERG
NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Through scrolling, stepping, and reciting poetry, 19 students at Wyandanch High School on Long Island are learning to make smart choices while bonding with new friends. They're members of the Kappa League, a mentorship program of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi.
"It teaches us how to be young men, puts us in the right places and think positive," senior Nahiem Springfield said.
"It feels good that we're doing something positive and nothing negative," junior Shykim Rich said. "It's a great feeling."
They've formed what is believed to be the first chapter of its kind on Long Island. The group was created by Kappa member Paul Sibblies who just so happens to be the school principal.
"I had to allow these young men to compare and contrast the difference between a gang and a fraternity," Sibblies said. "A gang brings down the community and a fraternity uplifts the community because you're now providing services."
Those services include reading to kids in the elementary school and acting as role models. But the process to join wasn't easy. Just like an initiation for any fraternity, there was a safe version of "hell week" to teach the young men about brotherhood and commitment.
"Take our cell phones in the morning, we greet the teachers, carry their bags to the class," Rich said. "Can't talk to nobody at all for the whole week."
Girls want to get involved, too. Kappa League has reached out to teachers in sororities in the high school who are planning a similar mentorship.
"It's the first year I've seen a tremendous drop in suspensions because of these young men and the way they mediate a lot of problems within the school," Sibblies said.
Teaching assistant Evan Henry, who is also a member, has noticed a difference.
"A lot of them at first were kind of misguided," Henry said. "Now a lot of them are going to class. A lot of them are helping each other out.
Junior Eric Dennis said he is proud to be a part of it and hopes other schools will follow suit.
"Whoever needs help throughout the school, we help them," Dennis said. "We help everyone, not only our brothers."
They're getting a flair for their future in college while setting a good example along the way.