Peer Support Team
Students Learn to Listen with An Open Mind and Heart
Thirteen Upper School students were selected to serve as student mentors on the new Peer Support Team (PST). Seniors Rebecca Akat, Sarah Dockery, Trey Fiscus, Rachel Harris, Ansley Martin, Steven McDermott, Sarah Miner, and Lexi Sisko and juniors Morgan Batley, Julia Dunn, Rose Edmondson, Makenzie O’Brien, and Zack Olguin were selected among almost forty highly qualified students who applied for the new program last spring.
The purpose of the PST is to provide Middle and Upper School students the opportunity to meet with a peer to discuss issues they may be struggling with socially or emotionally with the goal of reaching a wide range of students who may not otherwise seek help. PST members will continue ongoing training and regular meetings with team advisors, Upper School Counselor Anne Hoffman and Middle School Counselor Megan Thompson.
Since August, the PST members have been receiving weekly training in areas such as: active listening, confidentiality, multicultural awareness, addiction, suicide prevention and understanding grief. They are partnering with the Middle School to work with advisories on topics that Middle School deans and the counselor have identified.
“As soon as I heard of this opportunity, I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” said Rose Edmondson ’17. “I know what it feels like to need and want someone to talk to but just not sure who. I want to be a part of this team to be there to support and listen to my peers.”
Senior Steven McDermott is working closely with the Middle School as a PST member and also as part of his senior Capstone project. “The Peer Support Team has been an incredible experience this year and I have enjoyed working with the rest of the members,” he says.
Senior Ansley Martin says, “A good listener does not make harsh judgments, but understands with an open heart. A good listener makes someone feel important and cared for.” Senior Lexi Sisko adds, “I think a good listener is someone who listens with an open mind and offers comfort instead of judgment.”