Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Soft Spoken ‘Ms. Kathy’ a Strong Presence for Mentees

SBISD mentor Kathy Plugge with mentee Tira.
Lunch hours on Tuesdays are busy for SpringBoard Mentor Kathy Plugge.

She first visits her fourth-grade mentee at Nottingham Elementary, then drives over to visit another mentee at Spring Forest Middle School.

“It might sound like a big commitment, but really it is not difficult to accomplish,” said Plugge, or Ms. Kathy, as the mentees call her. “It only takes a half-hour at each school, and it is not a burden at all.”

Plugge is a former teacher and more recently has been moving often with her husband’s job at Exxon Mobil. She first heard about the program during a presentation by Monica Creixell, SpringBoard Specialist, at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. Plugge is a first-class mentor with a calm and friendly demeanor that both mentees really like.

At Nottingham, Plugge mentors a lively fourth-grade girl, Tira, who has five siblings, all of whom has, have attended or is still attending an SBISD school. Nottingham mentor coordinator Mary Pizana recommended the young lady for the program suspecting that a little one-on-one attention would help her blossom with confidence.

“I like it when my mentor comes to visit because we can talk about what she did that day or on the weekend,” said Tira. “I like to hear stories about Ms. Kathy’s family and activities.”

“My mentee is very thoughtful,” says Plugge. “She always thinks to ask me how things are going for me!”

Tira was nervous about taking the reading portion of the STAAR test but Plugge calmly talked it through with her Nottingham mentee, reminding her to “get enough sleep, eat a good breakfast, and to do her best.”

They also have been reading a book together, “The One and Only Ivan”, about a gorilla and his friends who work at the Big Top Mall and recommended by Nottingham librarian Michelle Murphy. The mentor/mentee duo may consider reading another book over the summer, and then have a book discussion when they get back together in the fall.
Plugge with mentee Tytiana.
Plugge also mentors an eighth grade student at Spring Forest Middle School on Tuesdays. She and Tytiana have been matched together since third grade and over their years together, Tytiana has grown in confidence and willingness to join groups at school. During her middle school years, she has participated in choir, volleyball, basketball, orchestra and track – including competing in the shotput and discus events.

“I am inspired by the quote, ‘Dream-Believe-Live,’” said Tytiana. “I dream about big goals, and when I hear ‘no,’ I know I can achieve them because I believe in myself.”

Plugge and Tytiana enjoy chatting during the lunch period they share together on Tuesdays.

“Tytiana has been good about talking and listening to other perspectives,” said Plugge.

The mentor is a strong presence in Tytiana’s life, and quietly asks critical and thought-provoking questions of her mentee to help her think through the results and consequences of decisions.

“I like it when we talk things through while drawing pictures or playing a game,” said the mentee. This mentor and mentee also share love for their dogs, and like to compare pet stories.

As Tytiana heads off to high school next year, Plugge hopes their relationship will continue if her mentee’s family doesn’t move out of the district. Her guidance and support will travel with Tytiana through the next chapters of her life.

Thank you, Ms. Kathy Plugge, for being a pillar of hope and light for the girls you mentor in SBISD.

If you are interested in making a positive difference in the life of a SBISD student, please go to the SpringBoard Mentoring Program website to learn about the simple steps to become a mentor. “Be someone who matters to someone who matters.”


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