After Benefiting from Mentorship at Camelot Education’s Phoenix Academy, Nate Luvice now Mentors Others
Three years ago, Nate Luvice transferred to Camelot Education’s Phoenix Academy, an accelerated high school in Lancaster for his senior year. He had spent the previous two years at Camelot’s transitional program in Lancaster, Buehrle Academy. After benefiting from his mentors at both Buehrle and Phoenix Academies, Nate now works at Lancaster’s Bench Mark Program where he mentors young men and women to become leaders. Working out, lifting weights, doing homework with members, or doing a community service project gives Nate time to bond with his mentees.
After working on the Bench Mark staff for two years, Nate was promoted to Assistant Program Director in December. In addition to helping Bench Mark grow and expand, Nate plans to pursue his associate’s degree in psychology and aspires to take on more responsibility in the years to come.
“It’s crazy how much of an impact we have on kids and to see them grow from when you first meet them,” Nate said of his work. “That’s the most rewarding thing out of it all – being part of a young person’s growth and sharing in their accomplishment.”
Nate knows the power of mentorship first hand. Before arriving at Phoenix Academy he admits to having been involved with the wrong crowd. He did not initially respond to most of the staff who reached out to him.
“I was rude and I was ignorant,” Nate says of his early days at Phoenix Academy. Then he met Alex Roman, a behavioral specialist on staff to whom Nate could relate. Nate says Roman taught him to see the long-term and do what is necessary to achieve what he is capable of. Roman continues to make a difference in Nate’s life, more than three years after graduation. The two talk every day even now.
“Phoenix Academy offers full circle support for kids,” says Executive Director Megan Misnik. “They are with us for eight hours a day, and we create a safe place where students can work on their mental and physical health.”
Phoenix Academy provides a smaller school setting where every staff member knows every student’s name and story. Mentors like Alex Roman make sure to get to know each student well. Nate feels that Phoenix is different because students can tell that the staff cares about them and wants to see them graduate.
Nate said that “Mr. Roman was the only dude that I would talk to at first. I didn’t want to talk with anybody else.”
Nate continued, “The reason the school works is because of the people they hire – people who understand where people are coming from – willing to take time and listen to kids. If they continue to hire people like Roman that school will be there forever.”
After connecting with Roman, Nate was able to work with other mentors. He credits Will Kiefer at Bench Mark for a presentation that helped change his life. “Kiefer stuck with me and helped me change,” Nate said.
Another mentor, former Phoenix Academy teacher Ryan Hipp, was persistent with Nate, staying committed even when Nate was contentious. These mentors not only helped Nate to rebuild his life; they also inspired him to pursue his calling of mentoring youth.
Nate said he learned not only “to see further down the line than right now, to sit down and get work done and build relationships that are long-term,” but also that “Phoenix helped mold me for what I am doing now. I didn’t know I wanted to mentor until I met Roman. I knew after talking to him I wanted to do what he was doing and be involved in the community helping kids out.”
Those who knew Nate at Phoenix might not be surprised to see what he’s doing now. Misnik said that Nate was beloved at Phoenix as a leader who was passionate about mentorship.
When Ms. Misnik needs someone from the Bench Mark Program, she knows who to call. Nate periodically returns to Phoenix Academy to talk to students just as his mentors did for him when he was there three years ago. Every time he does, he has the opportunity to inspire students to rebuild their lives and find their calling.
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