DHS juniors start a new club to make incoming students feel welcomed


Ogueneye and Woldegiorgis pitching Forward Focus to the Beacon Hill Middle School Black Student Union.

Ariana Tyrones

In early April, Decatur High School (DHS) students, Olaoluwa (Laolu) Oguneye and Samuel (Sammy) Woldegiorgis, pitched their idea for a new club based on providing incoming students with the support they wish they had been given.  In the upcoming school year, DHS will implement the club: The Forward Focus Mentorship Club.

Forward Focus is a student-led initiative created with the intent to offer Beacon Hill Middle School (BHMS) students from underrepresented backgrounds the chance to interact with a high school mentor who will support them through their academic and personal development.

In order to create sustainable relationships, mentees are paired with mentors based on extracurricular activities and interests. Members will engage in activities from community building (trips to educational venues) and community service projects to enriching collaborative competitions and group discussions. 

“I started Forward Focus because of my first hand experience witnessing the gap between how kids with a lack of opportunity and guidance turn out, versus the kids who are fortunate enough to have the mentoring and the essential tools for academic and personal success. Forward Focus was started in the hopes of bridging that gap,” junior and club co-president Woldegiorgis said.

Woldegiorgis and co-president Oguneye started this club in hopes of helping those who felt the same way Oguneye felt entering high school. “When I came into high school, I was faced with plenty of uncertainty, which was partially due to Covid, but also because I had no older siblings to give me advice about the school. If I had the chance to interact with an older high school mentor as I transitioned to Decatur High School, I would have taken it in a heartbeat,” said Oguneye. 

As for the future of Forward Focus there are hopes  for the program to continue beyond the graduation of its creators, as they are juniors this year. Woldegiorgis and Oguneye hope to find two leaders in the club next year, who share their ambitions and hope to provide for younger students, to take over the club in the future.  

“A mentorship like this in such a small community, like Decatur, will go a long way. The lessons that these kids will learn through their time in Forward Focus will not only make them better, but will make the people around them better as they grow into their role of a leader and influence others around them in a positive way,” said Woldegirorgis. 

The club will meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 3:50 pm to 4:35 pm.