Twice this month, six young women from the Class of 2017 met with seventh-grade girls from the Class of 2022 for a pilot peer mentoring program.
The participating seniors all attended Kent Denver's Middle School and are near the completion of their Kent Denver careers. They were asked to reflect on what advice they would now give their seventh-grade selves and to share that hard-won knowledge.
During meetings with the seventh-graders, the peer mentors answered questions and shared insights on a wide array of topics, including friendships, parent relationships, academics and the many physical and emotional hurdles girls face as they navigate early adolescence. Some of the advice from seniors included:
- Everyone feels awkward in Middle School, even if they don't show it.
- Try not to be mean to your parents—they can be your best allies!
- Look out for another and realize you are all in this together.
- Forgive and move on if someone is not nice to you. Sometimes friends just have a bad day.
- Try out lots of things in Middle School, but don't stress if you don't "find your passion" until high school.
- Some problems require an adult's guidance. Don't be afraid to talk to your parents, dean or the school counselor if you or a friend needs help.
"The seniors were funny, vulnerable and honest as they discussed the good, the bad and the ugly of the Middle School years," said school counselor Jackie Dauw. "We hope this program helped our seventh-graders see that what they are experiencing is part of the normal developmental process."
The program was also valuable for the seniors, who had a chance to reflect on how much they have grown while feeling truly helpful to younger kids.
"As teachers, we get the satisfaction of working and helping with young people all the time," said seventh-grade dean Mark Bosick. "It was nice to see the seniors experience that same satisfaction!" After positive reviews from the seventh-graders, the Student Wellness team plans to expand the program next year by starting in the fall and including both boys and girls from the seventh grade and next year's senior class.