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Voices of DSHA

Marian Scholars Peer Mentors Reflect on Involvement in Program

In the fall of 2020, DSHA implemented the Marian Scholars Program, a student-centered, inclusive education program for student with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Marian Scholars Program relies on a peer mentoring component; these peer mentors help the student engage in class, offer curriculum modifications, and lend support as needed. 

Eight DSHA juniors and seniors reflect on their time serving as a mentor to Mia Ruge, DSHA '24, DSHA's first Marian Scholar, during the first semester of the program's existence.  

“This has been such a wonderful semester with Mia. I’ve loved getting to see her grow both in and out of the classroom. Each of these moments reminded me of how lucky our school was to have a program that brings amazing people like Mia into our community. I look forward to seeing this program impact so many more lives."
- Honor Callanan, DSHA '21

“Mia showed hard work that encouraged me to work hard. She always had a happy heart.”
- Ella Bressanelli, DSHA ‘22
“My interactions and time with Mia have been nothing short of life-changing. Being a peer mentor has afforded me a multitude of opportunities to grow as an individual and garner a new understanding of what it means to be a friend and role model.  Mia has served as a constant reminder of what true, authentic joy looks like. Mia has been an inspirational example and living proof that no matter the circumstances, we can always rise above what life throws our way.”
- Emily Capper, DSHA '21

"I knew this type of program was necessary at DSHA, and I am amazed at how it has been implemented, cultivated, and is now flourishing. Mia truly brings radiant joy into each of her classes. If this semester is a glimpse of this program’s potential, then there truly are even greater things to come.”
- Nora Clossey, DSHA '21 

"My experience this year with Mia was eye opening because I learned about selflessness. Mia always brought a smile to my face and everyone else she met. I admired the confidence Mia has and I have learned so much from her. Her courage was so inspiring and taught me to have courage and never fear. It is clear that Mia loves DSHA and everyone here.  Even if my day seemed really hard or sad, Mia was always waiting for me during 7th hour with a big smile on her face. I am so blessed to be able to work with such an amazing, loving, and bright young woman, and I cannot wait to see all the great things Mia will do next.”
- Rachel Gauthier, DSHA '22

“Working with Mia has taught me so much in the short amount of time that we have spent together. She makes the school more open and welcoming due to her outgoing and high-spirited attitude. Her encouraging outlook on life is inspiring; she constantly uplifts her classmates and teachers, seeking nothing but a smile in return.”
- Mia Jensen, DSHA '21

“Her ability to talk to me and tell me funny things, or spread kindness is so brightening.  Every day she thanks the staff and tells them that they are doing a good job. She teaches me to find happiness in the small things. Seeing how Mia has made great progress throughout the year excites me; she is capable of so much, and I love seeing her grow.”
- Juju Kass, DSHA '22

“The Marian Scholars program has not only made a huge impact on my life and the life of Mia, but it has also made a positive impact on the school community in ways no other program would have been able to make. I feel beyond fortunate to have had this opportunity to work with Mia. “
- Tori Koch ‘21

Divine Savior Holy Angels High School

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