Changes to Peer Mentoring Program benefit frosh

For the 2014-15 school year, many changes have been made to the Peer Mentoring program. The program, which involves seniors helping freshmen in their homerooms with various high school topics, is run by English teacher Ashley Markesbery and Guidance Counselor Kaitlyn Richter. In the past, peer mentors had met with their designated homerooms only around major upcoming events, which was only a few times a year. Richter explained it was important to make changes to this.

“We’re now aiming to have our mentors meet with their homerooms twice a month,” Richter said. “We think it’s important to give the freshmen stronger leadership that can’t be provided by a teacher.”
Markesbery echoed these comments, explaining one reason she sees the peer mentors are so important.

“[The peer mentors] are easier for the freshmen to look up to,” Markesbery said. “It’s easier for information to stick, sometimes, when it comes from a fellow student and not a teacher.”

In addition to meeting more frequently, the way the mentors conduct their meetings has also seen change. In the past, the peer mentors were assigned certain activities to lead in homeroom, which left little room for variety. This year, Markesbery and Richter decided to hand more responsibility onto the seniors.

“We’re allowing them to control more of what they do with their freshmen,” Richter explained. “We give them a broad topic, and we let them decide on how to go about presenting the information to their class.”

The moderators have meetings with the peer mentors to discuss the topics before school. The peer mentors, themselves, think that the program is vital to the freshmen experience. Senior peer mentor Molly Kidwell said that it is very rewarding to help the freshmen come out of their shells.

“Just watching them through the first two months has been really fun,” Kidwell said. “Their personalities seem to change every time we meet with them.”
Senior peer mentor Nate Hazzard said he sees peer mentoring as a way to pass on the tradition of the school.

“We need to help them so that they’ll grow into responsible students, and maybe they’ll be able to pass on what we taught them onto freshmen when they’re seniors.”

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