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Welcome to the Panthers First Program Homepage

Connection is Key!

This is our founding principle for the Panthers First program at Park Rapids Area Schools. 

Students and alumni are more likely to succeed when they feel connected to their school and community. School and community connection is the belief by students that adults and other students in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals. School and community connectedness requires positive adult/student relationships and physical as well as emotional safety.

Have questions or want to know how to get involved in Panthers First? Feel free to contact the Panthers First Committee by Email or call 218-237-6442.

In Pursuit Of Our Success
"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave."


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What is Mentorship?

Group Mentoring is a mentor who works with a group of mentees.

E-Mentoring is a mentor who mentors a student through email or virtually.

Professional Mentoring is a mentor who works one-on-one with a student with regard to their field of interest and develops a career relationship.

Project Mentoring is a mentor who works with a group of students to assist with a project.

What is Panthers First?

2 Successful Transitions Through Mentorship

Panthers First: Student Peer Mentoring Groups

  • Juniors and Seniors are mentoring Freshmen and New Students at the High School.
  • Sophomores and Juniors are mentoring 8th Graders as they are transitioning from Middle School to High School.

Panthers First: Coffee, Cookies, and Career Conversations

  • Community Career Professionals, working or retired, are Career Mentoring 9th-12th grade students as they transition from high school to the adult world.
  • Networking event for high school students to meet their fellow community members representing all of our Panther Tracks.

Panthers First: Student Peer Mentorship

Fall Open House: Almost time for school! New high school students, freshmen, and parents/guardians are encouraged to attend our Fall Open Houses. Students receive their class schedule and picture day forms as well as visit with teachers to see their classrooms before the first day of school! Mentors are present to greet you, provide tours and answer questions.

Fall Freshmen Only Day: First day of school! Freshmen and new students have the high school all to themselves on the first day to get to know their new teachers, their class schedule, student handbooks, and their way around the school. During the day, they are guided by Junior and Senior Mentors who have a pack day filled with activities to welcome them to the high school. 

Winter Activities: Mentors and mentees have regular check-in times to see how everyone is doing throughout the year. Mentors and mentees also participate in fun activities and even field trips to build friendships and create unity as a student body. 

Spring Meet and Greet: Bring out the Red Carpet! 8th graders get a tour of the high school and attend their first high school pep fest. At the end, the entire school creates a bridge for the 8th graders to walk through on an actual red carpet as they leave the gym to get on the bus. It's a fun afternoon had by all to introduce 8th graders to the high school and various clubs, activities, athletics, among other ways to get involved at the high school! 

Spring High School Panther Tracks Course Registration Day: Junior and new Sophomore mentors head on over to Century to assist in the 8th graders' first high school class registration process and answer any questions about Panther Tracks. 


Panthers First: Coffee, Cookies, & Career Conversations

We meet once a month, for one hour, at the high school commons. These sessions are not career fairs. They are casual networking and career conversations at round tables with a group of students. We rotate sessions with all of the seniors and juniors with sophomores and freshmen every other month.

We are already up to 40+ mentors in the program representing every Panther Track, and we continue to grow every session!

Mentors assist in the career exploration process by helping students explore possibilities in Park Rapids, showing what occupations are in our area, answering questions about how to get there, and making a plan. Sometimes these sessions change from group career mentoring to individual career mentoring, career interviewing, job shadowing, and even employment. The students find great value in these casual, non-intimidating sessions, and we so appreciate our community's support in this program!

To become a career mentor, please email or call 218-237-6442 with any questions. All career mentors need to complete a background check through PRAS as well as attend a career mentor training before joining a session. 

Community Career Mentors, for more ways to connect with PRAHS, please visit Business & Community Partnerships.