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“Online students did substantially worse than students in the same face-to-face course: They earned lower grades, were less likely to succeed in subsequent courses, and more likely to drop out.” – Susan M. Dynafski, Brookings Due to the pandemic, children are no longer able to be in the classroom, learning from their teachers, but more importantly, learning from their peers. As highlighted in the quote above, students are suffering from online schooling. Not only are they retaining less information, but they are showing decreased levels of motivation to engage in their classes and continue in their studies. Yes, teaching can be done on a digital platform– most would argue not as well, but the goal would be accomplished. However, nothing can substitute the drive students feel when they see their classmates succeeding at a new challenge, and when they strive to push themselves to exceed beyond expectation. We aim to substitute the ambition students feel from being surrounded by their peers and regular check-ins with their teachers by creating a mentorship program, Real Heel Mentors, that keeps students on track through weekly guidanceReal Heel Mentors is an online mentorship platform that helps elementary and middle school students (4th-8th grade) create learning plans, set goals, and check-in. We imagine a partnership where youth and UNC students alike benefit, and both are held accountable to meet their weekly goals. Through hour-long Zoom meetings twice a week, mentors will discuss their student’s day, ask them how classes are going, see if they can help with any problems, and make sure they are making forward progress towards their goals.



Marley Martin – UNC Student at the Kenan Flager Business School and the Hussman School of Journalism. Helen Johnston – UNC Student at the Hussman School of Journalism


Interested in receiving assistance from: 

Students  Faculty  Staff


Contact Person:

Helen Johnston (



Insta: @helenjohnstonn and @marley.martin

Linkedin: and

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