In reference to your asking about good students and mentors... I have to say
that I had three mentors in high school. But the one I went to first, which
happened to be the one I knew the longest, did have a PhD in math. I don't
know about anyone else, but I found it more assuring to talk to him about
higher education, particularly getting my PhD, because I knew he had been
through it all. He was 1 million times better to talk to then our dumb, they
were!, college advisor and my regular advisor.