By Dani Bregman ‘21
As a way to help freshmen students transition from their respective Middle Schools into Heschel High School, the Student Affairs Council created a new program for our school: Peer Advisors. In the program, one junior and one senior are paired up with two ninth grade advisories. Before the school year started this year, the upperclassmen called the freshmen in their assigned advisories and got to know them and their background as a way to help them become comfortable with the school. In addition to spending the day with the freshmen during ninth grade orientation, the peer advisors went on the annual trip to High Exposure for a day of bonding.
The peer advisor program was created as a way to give upperclassmen and freshmen an opportunity to connect in a way that they haven’t been able to before. The program enables juniors and seniors to provide the Freshmen with additional support from their first hand experience at Heschel. As noted in the Student Affairs’ proposal for the program: “Seniors and freshmen do not have many opportunities for interactions. Thus, freshmen do not have as many resources to obtain advice, especially from a member of the community who can give a student perspective, and general school knowledge from upperclassmen.”
“I’ve always been talking about the program since I was a freshman,” says Ally Lax, junior and creator of the peer advisor program. She added, “I didn’t have the easiest transition from middle school to high school and it would have helped if I had a peer advisor or a mentor to be friends with.”
One of the amazing aspects of the peer advisor program is that having an upperclassmen assigned to freshmen advisories means that the freshman already have two upperclassmen friends to help ease the transition. Peer advisors are also helpful in giving practical and helpful advice; they have gone through the same experiences, so they know how to guide the freshmen through what can be a tough transition.
“The peer advisors have been really helpful in helping me adjust to the high school,” said freshman Leean Suky, “They are really sweet and very helpful and if I ever need help they said I could go to them.” Peer advisors plan to meet with their advisees once every two months.