Peer Leadership

Sharlene Guiracocha, Staff Writer

Peer leadership is a way for seniors to express positivity and support freshmen. We are lucky to have this program at Teaneck High; this program has been around for about 25 years. Mr. Olender, the advisor states that the program, “help[s] the transition of freshmen to high school.” Peer leadership is not only a program but a resource. Mr. Olender agrees with this statement. “It’s both, it’s a program because peer leaders have to apply, go through an interview, complete a mock outreach, and assist with mandatory events.

To expand further knowledge on how juniors who are now seniors became peer leader, Mr. Olender shared the process with me. In March juniors can start applying, and in April advisors will start to ask teachers for feedback for those who applied. If students get good feedback they’ll proceed to an interview. Not everyone passes the interview, those who do then complete a mock outreach. A mock outreach is a situation where these juniors have to perform their skills as if they were already peer leaders. Finally, final cuts are made.

Rebekah Jones is one out of a couple of people who was selected to be a peer leader. Rebekah agrees that there is a symbiotic relationship between a peer leader and a student. She is able to improve her speaking skills, and freshmen are able to see how their first high school year will be for them. When I asked Rebekah what she was mainly trying to focus on during meeting with freshmen she responded that students should know, “that it’s okay to not know what you want to do [in life], but you need to try.” She wants students to know the importance of trying in life. Furthermore, she also said something important, “Peer leadership is more challenging than I thought, it’s not easy to take you guys from PE, and take you to a place to express your feelings.” Peer leaders are determined to make meetings entertaining and engaging for students, as well as to make them feel comfortable, and know they’re there to help. Another peer leader, Jewel stated, “I want to help all of you and be a great mentor to you guys.” She wants to be able to spread kindness and life lessons to freshmen; her goal is to make sure they benefit from looking up to someone.

Peer leadership is a support system for freshmen. Not everyone is able to become a peer leader, which proves it’s a demanding program that requires social and academic stability. Peer leaders need to express life lessons and entertainment that will help freshmen in their transition to high school. Freshmen need to benefit from this resource Teaneck High school has provided students with. If you’re a junior and are interested in this program don’t forget to apply in March!