Students Striving for Success, El Reno Public School Foundation
|El Reno business leader and school board member Curtis Blanc (second from left), a volunteer for Students Striving for Success Mentoring Program, receives an Outstanding Mentor Award from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren (left) and President Anil Gollahalli during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol. They are joined by Blanc’s mentees Theo (second from right) and Justino. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)|
Curtis, who is chairman of MidAmerica Cars Inc. and a school board member, has been matched for the past three years to two boys, Theo and Justino, who are now in fourth grade. Brooke Robertson, mentoring program director, said Curtis has developed a unique relationship with each of the boys, spending individual time with them each Monday morning. He has built relationships with both boys’ families and enjoys after-school activities with the boys, such as movies, bowling and the occasional rodeo.
“Curtis has watched his boys go from shy, quiet and reserved to boys that make eye contact, don’t stop talking and beg to have their photo taken at any chance,” Brooke said. “He goes above and beyond to make sure the boys are succeeding academically as well.”
Curtis is in direct contact with Theo and Justino’s teachers and school staff concerning any challenges they might be facing and what he can do during mentoring time to help them. “Not a week goes by that Curtis doesn’t discuss the boys with me and the strides each is making,” Brooke said.
When Curtis learned that he was being honored as an outstanding mentor his response was to share the honor with his mentees and call it a “Mentoring Team Award.”
“I would be glad to accept this award on behalf of my team,” Curtis said. “Both of these boys have made the commitment to take advantage of El Reno Public Schools Mentoring Program and all the tools that the school district has supplied to enhance this program. Because of this commitment they have both made strides in multiple areas. It has been exciting to watch. These two boys have taken pride in their accomplishments, and have made me proud to be a part of their team.”
Curtis praised Students Striving for Success as a program that is helping educators achieve their goal of helping children develop their full potential. “I feel fortunate just to be able to be a small part of something that can make such a huge difference in someone’s life.”
Brooke described Curtis as “a very humble man with a servant’s heart.” In addition to mentoring, he serves on many boards in the community. He gives freely of his time and resources to the community, especially where students are concerned, Brooke said.
“Curtis continues to impact Theo and Justino and build a relationship that the two will appreciate even more in years to come,” Brooke added. “But the relationship is not just one way. Just a couple days ago Curtis was sharing a mentoring story with me. His closing remarks were an ‘ah-ha’ moment that I know most mentors feel eventually. He said ‘I’m pretty sure I’m getting more out of mentoring and the relationship than my boys.’”
Brooke concluded her written mentor tribute with these words: “Thank you, Curtis, for setting these boys up for success and for being their number-one fan.”