2019 Summer Workshops Kick off at Washington College

This July, PeerForward ignited the power of positive peer influence at Washington College to train a new cohort of Peer Leaders in our first Summer Workshop of 2019. Here, 91 Peer Leaders from 23 high schools in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and New York City convened to engage in rigorous training to run college-going campaigns at their high school and develop effective leadership skills. Through powerful reflection, team-building, and motivational exercises, Peer Leaders dug deep into their inner strengths and emerged eager to inspire their peers on their path to postsecondary success. 

During the Workshop, Peer Leaders stayed four days and three nights in the dorms at Washington College, getting a feel for life as a real college student living on campus. Joining them were our dedicated volunteers, 16 of which served as College Coaches to help Peer Leaders build a tailored list of colleges to apply to, alongside another 16 volunteers who served as Writing Coaches to help students write a unique and powerful personal statement for college and scholarship applications.  

Our Peer Leaders were joined by 27 committed school educators and counselors who serve as PeerForward Advisors throughout the school year for professional development and training sessions of their own. Among them was Kyle De Jan, PeerForward Advisor at Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., who himself was impacted by PeerForward as a high school senior at Laurel High School in 2008. Now a history teacher with a master’s degree, he shared that PeerForward “100% made me want to apply to college,” and continues to be a model he believes can help inspire even more students to pursue higher education. He added: 

“The model of having your peers and friends driving you to make those postsecondary decisions, in more casual and less stressful approaches…that model works. It worked then, and it works now. There is a certain level of understanding you have as a senior. Now that I work with Peer Leaders, I understand that.” 

Just as Kyle De Jan was moved to return to PeerForward after his own positive experience, 14 other dedicated alumni returned to work as Alumni Support Staff, ensuring operations for the weekend ran smoothly.   

Each Summer Workshop brings new inspiring and driven Peer Leaders to PeerForward, and we can’t wait to see what amazing things they’ll do in this upcoming school year. Hear from some of our newly inducted Peer Leaders from the Washington College Workshop below:


“I see everybody doing one thing, and I choose to do another… I don’t have a lot, but I can do with what I have.” 

 –Janelle Lott, Peer Leader at Dunbar High School, D.C. 






“I am a good listener. Being a good listener is special, it doesn’t mean you have to give directions. Listen to different people because you might be able to relate to them. It’s a gift.”  

Kilmar Marcia-Guzman, Peer Leader at International High School at Langley Park, Md. 




“Me and my friends should pursue education after high school because education is one of the most important components of life, and a successful one at that. Frederick Douglass once said knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” 

-Madison Wright, Peer Leader at Oxon Hill High School, Md. 


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