Upperclassmen helping freshmen in new Peer Leadership Program

As a freshmen, what’s better than having an upperclassmen for a friend?

More than 30 upperclassmen who are part of a new Peer Leadership Program are helping freshmen to be more comfortable and successful at Whittier. Team members have been visiting and befriending ninth graders during homeroom periods to talk about how to make friends, join sports teams and clubs, and choose a vocational-technical program.

“As a peer leader, I try to be the person I wish I had when I was in their shoes,” said Junior Rhina Turbucio. “I know how it feels to be a freshman in a new school and not know anyone or how to get around the school, and I know how stressful it can be to pick a shop.”

The  leadership team meets every Tuesday after school for training, and has participated in workshops on how to start conversations, manage a group, and make presentations. The group is run by Science Teacher Mr. Warne and Guidance Counselor Mrs. Rossi.

“It can be stressful and overwhelming to be a freshman in high school,” Mr. Warne said. “The building is huge, the classes are demanding and there are so many students. On top of that, freshmen are picking a shop they will be pursuing for 4 years at Whittier. Even though teachers can be a great source to help freshman, it can be more effective for upperclassmen to help.”

The upperclassmen also benefit. “It has helped me improve my skills when it comes to leadership and public speaking,” said Junior Tabitha Noyes, “which I am very thankful for. I’ve also met a lot of new students.”

”Helping freshmen is the best thing I've done this year,” said Peer Leader Kiara Rosa, a junior. “As a freshman I had trouble with things like midterms, finals, shop selection and just connecting with people in general.”

“It makes me feel good knowing that I'm making a difference and helping them feel more comfortable,” Turbucio said.

Rosa said,  “It was a challenge at first but as time goes on, it’s becoming better.”

The peer leaders are: Noelle Alaboudi, Franciny Arias, Kaylee Cerullo, Kaylan Clarke, Veronica Damian, Andrea DesRoches, Tori Kitchings, Yuris Martinez, Madalyn McCarthy, Peta-Gaye McLaughlin, Julianne Mercado, Cailyn Merrill, Tabitha Noyes, Jamie Orellana, Jayda Phillips, Loraine Rodriguez, Kirara Rosa and Yumairy Rosario, Elian Sanabia, Evelina Sanzo, Tay Uccello and Jeda Varnardo, all of Haverhill; Kyleigh Campbell, Arianna Cavallaro, Seth Denault and Sarah Sanford of Merrimac; Helena MacDonald of Amesbury; Sara Tashijian of Groveland; Isabella Bonvie, Jennifer Demille and Maya Looker of Newburyport.



Whittier Tech