On late start days, Peer Leaders team up with their freshmen during gym periods to run team-building activities and lead discussions. The Peer Leadership groups are a hallmark of a student’s freshman year. However, it wasn’t always like this.
When Mrs. Barb Plantz, a social worker and the head sponsor of Peer Leadership, first started the club over 20 years ago, she never imagined how large it would become. “Peer Leadership just started out as a way to transition freshmen into the school,” Plantz said.
Peer Leadership used to be much smaller and focused on fostering personal relationships between the leaders and freshmen, similar to a Big Brother-Big Sister program. The group met more frequently throughout the year during lunch periods.
With 115 Leaders, Peer Leadership now meets in large groups during gym class. There is now a much stronger emphasis on team building rather than on the development of personal relationships. “Part of it is that as our freshman class is getting larger. We need more leaders to make the groups more workable for PE classes,” Plantz said.
In addition to facilitating late start activities, Peer Leadership members also give tours to freshmen, host tailgate parties, attend school plays, and organize car-washes.