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BEST GANAS: A Step Towards Academic Success

With younger generations of boys struggling with education, peers have steps up to better the future of bearcats

As time goes on education has been given equally between male and female students, yet among the current years the lack of male participation has been concerning in the eyes of staff. Male students at PRHS have much lower rates of participation and GPAs. To fix the grade discrepancy, students have stepped up to help their peers. The program known as GANAS, Grow Always and Never Stop, assigns two academically successful students with one male student who is struggling with their GPA. The mentors check in and advise their mentee at least once a week in hopes of lifting their grades. 

With U.S. high school honors classes being about 70% girls, girls accounting for 70% of the nation’s valedictorians, and 1 of the last nine ASB presidents at PRHS being male, it was clear to administration, particularly English teachers and GANAS advisor Aaron Cantrell, that a change needed to be made in order to promote male participation. 

In 2021 GANAS helped 25 students improve their grades by pairing them with mentors. This year, they have widened their reach to address the gap by adding BEST (Boy’s Empowerment Student Team). BEST GANAS will now focus on mentoring male students. Once the teams successfully raise the average of male GPA at PRHS, they will bring GANAS back to mentoring both boys and girls. 

GANAS all started with student Elias Duenas. While in Aaron Cantrell’s class, he was pulled aside in regards to the status of his grade. That’s when Duenas opened up about the death of his mother and how his home life and personal issues have affected his school life and academics.

Elias Duenas, 12 and Aaron Cantrell, English Teacher

After an emotional moment, Cantrell had realized that a majority of academic struggles could stem from complications at home rather than effort in school. This incident is when Cantrell decided that pairing up students with peers in efforts of having someone to talk to and lean on for not only academic help but a person to show they care. Once mentors were assigned students had begun running this program with the help of Cantrell and other staff members such as Dr. Curt Dubost and Erin Haley.

Just this year Cantrell has over 400 students who are struggling with grades to be paired up with a mentor. The process starts with Cantrell making a list of students with poor grades, then speaking with students on the list about getting help, if the student agrees to receiving help Cantrell finds a pair of mentors to check in on that student.

Though GANAS was created to help boys and girls, it’s focus on boys has brought attention to a area of absence. Dubost, Superintendent of Paso Robles School District, noticed a lack of male participation throughout the district, especially in the high school level. Dubost believes this could stem from the home. He expressed how today, there are more divorced households, blended families, and absent parents. Dubost, along with other male board members, has begun reading to elementary school classes. He believes that though he cannot fix what is going on at home, he can fix how that child is feeling at school by giving them a male figure to rely on. 

Dubost also noticed the difference between when he was in high school, compared to now. He mentioned how girls used to be restricted from taking certain classes and female expectations consisted of a low education and more time at home. As times have changed women have gained the opportunity of an equal education, yet now women are dominating the education system with roughly 6/10 college students being females. Although Dubost has been told that it is “only right” because there was a “preponderance of males in the past so there has to be a preponderance of females in the future in order to make up for that”. But Dubost rejects this ideology and believes that to make up for the past you should not go too far in the opposite direction. 

With BEST GANAS Dubost hopes to find a way to encourage male students to take advantage of their choices including sports, electives and clubs. BEST GANAS is also a program that enriches student’s academic life with partnership from mentors and educational help.

As BEST GANAS progresses current teachers and students hope to bring it back to GANAS in order to help every student. Current Mentors Brandon Nguyen and Kyle Dart began interviewing students to become the leading mentors for the new program. As these mentors graduate they plan on training their mentees to become mentors for future students. 

As a new strand of this program has already begun. With large participation and efforts from not only staff but also students, some believe this could be the solution to the GPA discrepancy.

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About the Contributors
Cassidy Heer
Cassidy Heer, InDepth Co-Director

Cassidy Heer is a junior at PRHS. This is her second year in crimson and she is currently the In-Depth Co-Director. Heer is excited for another year of Crimson and hopes to continue her interest in writing and possibly pursue it as a career after graduation. In school, Heer plays tennis and is apart of the Beach Clean-Up Club. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Naomi Velasco
Naomi Velasco, Carmesi Co-Director
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