Sylvenus Harris II of Silverdale, Wash., has turned his educational course back to the future. The 21-year-old psychology graduate of the University of Washington and Olympic College re-entered Central Kitsap Junior High School this fall to mentor students there with all his heart.
“It’s a total throw-back,” Harris said. “I am doing an internship alongside my former counselor Mr. (David) Keller. It’s my hope to give back what I’ve received and begin a career where I can really make a difference.”
After being in a position of helping lots of friends and others during college, Harris said he honed his own ambitions.
“I tutored junior-high and high-school students while I was an undergraduate and found that age group not only really interesting, but at a pivotal point where I could have an effect that could change lives forever,” he said. “There is still so much potential for most youth, if they have the right guidance to help them get where they want to go.”
Harris gives his own early teen mentors much of the credit for where he is today. “I still remember and will always be grateful to Mrs. (Chris) Mygatt, my CK junior high English teacher, for how she encouraged me, believed in me, even when I was struggling with writing. She pushed me to keep going,” he said. “Since then, I’ve had several other influences – all who emulated similar qualities of support.”
Noting a common thread between teachers, counselors, therapists and doctors who are able to make a real connection with those they serve, Harris counts Dr. Haws as a role model of the type professional he’d like to become.
“My parents (Sylvenus and Sarah Harris) and I have been going to Clear Creek Dentistry for more than eight years. Even though I’m entering into a totally different field, Dr. Haws exhibits with his patients many of the attributes I hope to bring my students.”
With an eye on graduate school, following his internship, Harris believes the future is bright. “One person really can make a difference,” he said. “I’ve experienced that in my life and hope I can now be an impact for good on others.”