All about the Peer Leadership Club

Kristine K., Staff Writer

The Peer Leadership Club is on a mission to provide younger students with role models during their middle school and high school years in order for them to have positive experiences in their future schooling. 

“[The Peer Leadership Club] has weekly sessions at the middle school where high school students […] provide tutoring [to students]. It can be tasks like helping students get organized, helping students study for a test or quiz or learning a new concept,” said club adviser Mark Schwartz.

The Peer Leadership Club is making a difference in the district by providing students with much needed assistance. Samantha G., a senior club member describes her favorite aspect about being a part of this organization. 

“[I love] helping the other kids. Just their faces when they learn something new is amazing,” said Samantha G.

This club not only helps students academically, but it also has positive effects on both the high school students and middle school students socially and emotionally. It also benefits members by helping them practice leadership and communication skills that they can utilize in their future education and careers.

“[Peer Leadership members] have gone off to do wonderful things in the world of work or the military. They choose really nice colleges, and I’ve stayed in touch with many of them. They came out of their shells in this club. They started out as fourteen year old students and they had some insecurities and maybe a lack of confidence. As they grew, they grew with the program and grew into their bodies and their minds. They left  us as fairly confident people and they went on to colleges where they were able to be role models and tutors. Some of them, not all, developed an interest in counseling, or psychology, or education. Many of them became teachers but many of them went on to [other] do wonderful things,” said Schwartz

 Peer Leadership has the ability to make students develop strong personalities.  

“I think [The Peer Leadership Club] helped me because it made me such a more confident person because when I started as a freshman, I was the most quiet person ever. Now, I’m so outspoken and loud and confident with who I am,” said Gould.

This club enables members to build connections with one another as well as teach them valuable lessons. 

“It feels amazing because not only are you helping [students] learn something new, you’re pretty much making a new friend every time because you [are able to] connect. You start talking about school and eventually you really do become a peer with them and it’s great to see that happen,” said Samantha G.

Overall, it provides an open space for students to express how they feel, give advice, and have fun with their peers in a positive atmosphere. 

“The original goal for me was to run [club meetings] almost like a college course, where we would have themes and discussions. For example, it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to discuss how students feel about masking and optional masking and how it’s important to respect everyone’s personal choice. We have a lot of discussions and we try to end on a positive note,” said Schwartz

Students interested in joining Peer Leadership may join the club throughout the year, as they always welcome members.

“I think [students] should definitely join because it’s a great experience to help other kids. It really is, and not only do you help other kids but you also benefit from it as a person,” said Samantha G.

The Peer Leadership Club is filled with bright, kind, youthful students that yearn to help other students. That’s what the club is all about. 

“We don’t exclude anyone. We tend to get very strong students academically but our main goal is to just get really nice young people, where their heart is in the right place. So you don’t need a 95 average. You need a good heart and a good moral compass. Being able to spend time with these young people that are so bright and really so pleasant and upbeat is a pleasure for me and being a positive role model to them is important to me,” said Schwartz.

Additionally, Peer Leadership recently partnered with the International Culture Society to teach English as a New Language (ENL) students that embracing diversity draws people closer together. 

“Some students that are in Peer Leadership are also in the International Culture Society. But, for years now, I have been advocating for trying to identify middle school and high school students that are bilingual and trilingual because we have a small ENL, English as a new language, population. […] International Culture Society has highlighted different countries. I think at every meeting or every other meeting,[…] and they’ve done a really nice job this year. We’ve identified some students who speak Mandarin and we’ve identified some ICS students that speak Mandarin and we are working to connect them to teach them math or history in Mandarin,” said Schwartz.

To join this club you can contact Mr. Mark Schwartz via email at [email protected],  with any questions regarding club activities, events, and membership details.  🔳