These Shawnee Mission students have tips for younger kids wanting an ‘amazing’ high school experience

Samantha Morinville and Ore Oni with student

Samantha Morinville and Ore Oni, two Shawnee Mission North juniors, are helping middle school students across the district prepare for high school — and even college. “High school will be

Samantha Morinville and Ore Oni, two Shawnee Mission North juniors, are helping middle school students across the district prepare for high school — and even college.

“High school will be an amazing experience, if you prepare for the future today,” Morinville said.

The two juniors saw a need for additional support throughout Shawnee Mission to help prepare kids for high school and college. Oni said she and Morinville tapped into their shared passion for community awareness and education to create the Core College Advising Program.

Samantha Morinville and Ore Oni
Morinville and Oni have been working with students since October 2020. Photo courtesy of Samantha Morinville.

“We saw that we could help middle schools and help our district as a whole, and create something long lasting — even after we leave,” Oni said.

Morinville and Oni meet with about 20 middle schoolers once a month to discuss various topics such as study habits, organizational skills and even resumes. Students appreciate the program, Oni said, and parents have reported growth in their kids — many of whom would be first-generation college students.

Here are some tips Morinville and Oni have for middle schoolers who are preparing for high school — and how to stay on track for college:

  • Freshman year is important, meaning eight grade is where it all begins — pick the right classes and career programs for freshman year to help you in the future.
  • Understanding the importance of study habits early on can help you prepare for standardized tests. Explore spaced repetitions and the Pomodoro Method.
  • Identify your interest and explore career options whenever you’re able.
  • Don’t be afraid to get involved early, try any clubs or activities that interest you.
  • Start thinking about college and scholarships. Draft a list of each.
  • Create a four-year plan for high school classes during enrollment.
  • Make your summers count by seeking opportunities in your area of interest.