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Peer Leadership: A Student Perspective

by Ethan R. '22

Your high school experience begins with a camping trip designed to build community, develop friendships and set up 9th graders for success. The trip is led by senior Peer Leaders who also teach a class on life skills and serve as mentors throughout the school year. 

9th Grade camping trip

The kids that I met on the 9th grade camping trip continue to be some of my closest friends today as a senior. The bonds that were formed on the trip created a small group of people that I knew I could count on. Whether it was through the bonfires, the rope course activities we participated in, or even the meals we ate together, that trip is one of the most memorable times from my high school experience. The seniors that led our group had an extraordinary impact on me. They led by example and never failed to exhibit amazing leadership qualities. 

My Peer Leaders were warm, amiable people who showed that they cared for me from day one. These two seniors were adept in leading discussions, bringing energy to whatever we were doing and, most of all, they were exceptionally skilled in making each 9th grader feel welcome and included. They created an environment where a 9th grader like me could get comfortable and find my identity as high school began. An added bonus of the Peer Leadership program: I was able to become close with two seniors and continued to learn from them as the school year progressed! 

9th grade camping trip

My Peer Leaders had such an impact on me, that I decided to apply to become a Peer Leader in my senior year, because I wanted to lead a group of 9th graders just like my Peer Leaders did.

Here are a few quotes from my fellow Peer Leaders: 

“Calhoun is nothing like the tv shows where they present high school as this unwelcoming and ‘cliquey’ place.”  Sokhnamai K. ‘22

“My peer leaders taught me that school isn’t just about academics and getting good grades, but learning how to respect your peers and be part of a community.”  Liam H. ‘22

“When I was a 9th grader, the Peer Leaders made sure that each student felt included in whatever activity we were doing.”  Isobel F. ‘22