Maryam Ahmed ’19 & Kylie Tedeschi ’19
Active for twelve years and currently under the supervision and guidance of Mrs. Kelly Morris and Mrs. Danielle Vigilante, the PV Peer Mentoring Program has given freshmen the opportunity to ease into their transition from middle to high school under the guidance of junior and senior student mentors.
Monthly meetings with mentors aim to set a positive tone for the future high school careers of these freshmen. Each month brings a new discussion of a topic for mentors and their small groups of freshmen. These topics range from school-related areas, such as stress management and an overview of what PV has to offer, to discussions about students’ social lives, such as healthy relationships and peer pressure. “I think even the smallest advice you can give a freshman, can change their whole viewpoint on their situation,” mentor Nick Tecza ’19 suggested.
The Peer Mentoring Program establishes a lasting connection and support system for freshmen are all, suddenly, the “new kids” in school. “We have had a number of freshmen look up to their mentors for advice,” Mrs. Vigilante remarked. “Our goal is to provide another support system for freshmen who are coming in each year with growing needs, anxieties on the rise, etc.”
After every mentoring meeting, mentors are notified to ask their mentees what they have learned, along with a couple of questions/scenarios that the advisors come up with. The mentors are given a sheet to write down the possible answers to the scenarios as well as different ways to solve the problems. “This program not only taught me how to control my study habits, but also manage my stress both inside and outside of school,” mentee Adham Hamouda ’22 stated.
The mentoring program is designed in a way that will bring students who may not know each other together for discussion. Freshmen are split into small groups of seven or eight, and assigned mentors chosen by Mrs. Morris and Mrs. Vigilante. This aims to encourage the freshmen to get to know their fellow groupmembers, and to expose them to students from other towns that they may not already know. “I think it’s a great way to get students from all grades to interact with each other,” Kelsey Liskowicz ’22 remarked.
Connecting with students beyond municipal and grade level boundaries is important for fostering a healthy school community. “It’s a great transition for students coming in from our regional districts to meet upperclassmen who have gone through what they’re going through,” Mrs. Morris stated.
In the future, both Mrs. Vigilante and Mrs. Morris want to expand the program towards more school events. This year, for instance, they involved the school, with the help of the mentors, in the Sandy Hook Promise “Say Something Week” to promote school safety. The mentoring program aims to further involve its mentors in leadership roles throughout PV to help guide new students through high school.