Extreme mentoring leads to promising future

Shon Bogar Jr. may not have been considered an “at-risk” or troubled student, but at the start of his senior year in high school he was carrying a 1.2 grade-point average (GPA), had declining attendance, and showed little interest in anything beyond sports. And this was in Rochester, NY — a small city that leads the US in childhood poverty, minority dropouts, and single parent households. If Shon was to succeed in a city amidst a growing teen crisis, he needed help. What he got was so much more.

As a Sutherland employee, Shon’s mom was compelled to get her son on the right path before it was too late. She enrolled him in Champion Academy—an extreme mentoring program partially funded by Sutherland that provides participants with the much needed accountability and support to maximize their potential. Shon embraced the opportunity, completing the year long program and graduating from high school on time, with honors, perfect attendance, and a 3.72 GPA.

Sutherland took notice and decided to make Shon the first participant in a robust apprenticeship program. Sutherland’s own, Dan Lang, gave Shon a tour of the company headquarters, showing him every function of the business and allowing him to learn how various team members achieved their own success. After Lang personally met with Shon's former principal, reviewed his transcripts, and obtained a recommendation letter, their next stop together was Rochester Institute of Technology. They met with the admissions office and toured the campus.

"In one day," says Lang, "Sutherland connected many dots for Shon, and we did it in typical Sutherland style. As a team, we are all investing in his future and the future of ten other apprentices in a direct, hands-on manner. Our goal is to secure college admission and a potential scholarship placement for all our apprentices and to ensure they have the critical work skills they that will carry them through life."