Miss Outstanding Teen 2007 Janine Mitchell

DERRY | A local teen is being honored for her efforts mentoring children in the classroom.

Janine Mitchell, a 2007 Pinkerton Academy graduate and former Miss New Hampshire Outstanding Teen 2006, has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship for a mentor club program she began at Derry Village Elementary School.

The 2007 Mentor Club Scholarship program is part of the nationally acclaimed U.S. Dream Academy Mentor Club, partnering with the Miss New Hampshire teen program to help children needing extra held with schoolwork, making friends, and success in life.

Mitchell was crowned Miss New Hampshire Outstanding Teen in May 2006, and learned of the mentoring opportunities while attending the national Miss America Outstanding Teen competition in August of that year in Orlando, Fla.

Five Miss America Outstanding Teen contestants, including Mitchell, accepted the program's challenge to set up a Mentor Club in her hometown.

She told the Derry News she wanted to bring back what she learned as part of the program and use it to help children in the Derry school system, where her mother, Melissa, is an elementary teacher.

"When I went to Florida to compete in nationals, we had training sessions and learned how to start our own mentoring program," she said. "They gave us the tools to come back and start this club."

For her mentor club, Mitchell engaged several Pinkerton Academy friends to help, working weekly with second- and third-graders at Derry Village, and helping the students with special projects, coloring, reading, and other activities.

She credited her mother, calling her a mentor who motivated her to help children, adding she wants to continue with educational work in the future.

"I've had a good role model for teaching," she said.

Mitchell submitted essays, photos, and sent testimonies about her Derry mentor program and earned the second-place, $2,000 scholarship for her efforts. The top three winners receive a trip to Orlando next month to be honored at this year's Outstanding Teen finals and will share their accomplishments with the 2007-08 contestants.

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