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Spring 2022 Training Camp Highlights

Peer Leaders had a lot to celebrate at Spring 2022 Training Camps! Through February and March, teams across the States and in Bermuda came together to reflect on the successes of this year’s campaigns and set their agendas for the remainder of the school year.

Peer Leaders at their training camp in New York

“Coaches wanted students to be able to review, reflect, and respond to their FAFSA, College App and Campaign activity data to ensure they finish the school year strong,” PeerForward Coach Cornelius Williams shared. “In addition, we wanted to create a space where the Juniors could take the lead on their CHOICE Campaign.”

Through CHOICE Campaigns, Peer Leaders have the opportunity to advocate for an important cause within their school or community. Our teams have risen to the challenge this year: at Tall Oaks High School in Maryland, Peer Leaders hosted a Young Adult Voice Summit/Forum and discussed relevant events and topics with school leadership, teachers, and peers. The event allowed students to articulate concerns, observations, and recommendations in a community setting. Meanwhile, Bladensburgh Peer Leaders advocated for student safety protocols with school security and their principal. They also initiated a pride campaign at the school.

Students enjoyed collaborating with other regional Peer Leader teams at training camps: “When each team shared their activities that they have employed at their school, it was very insightful. Each group’s strategy was unique. Now other groups can engage in similar activities which may have a greater impact on their school,” shared one Senior Peer Leader from Martin County High School, Florida.

PeerForward teams also celebrated their FAFSA and college application campaign wins. Even as college enrollment continues to drop nationwide, Peer Leaders are turning the tide at their schools, with a 4% increase in FAFSA applications at partner schools compared to last year and an 11% rise in the number of students applying to college. And teams like that at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in NYC are going above and beyond – El Puente’s year-on-year FAFSA increase was 21%, and 88% of their seniors have submitted at least three college applications.

In addition to reflecting back at their accomplishments this year, Peer Leaders are looking ahead:

“PeerForward does a really good job at getting students the resources they need to be successful. I want our team to be able to connect with students on a deeper level, so we can implement things that will affect not only the junior class, but also the classes below it. By the time I graduate, I want there to be a foundation that anyone can build upon.” – Noah Greene, junior at Jensen Beach High School, Florida.

Peer Leaders at their training camp in Florida

Peer Leaders at their training camp in Florida

With seniors preparing to embark on their postsecondary journeys, Spring Training Camps are also an opportunity for the older students to pass the baton to their junior classmates. Sandra, a senior at South Fork High School in Florida, reflected, “PeerForward has helped me get a lot further than I would have by myself. I’m excited to see where that takes the juniors and how far they will go. I want to see how far the Class of 2022 can go. That’s what I’m looking forward to: seeing the aftermath of all the hard work.”

Peer Leaders who are looking ahead to higher education shared how PeerForward has prepared them for their next steps:

“The main thing that motivates me is that I’m helping my peers. I’m going to school for Psychology because I want to help others for the rest of my life. When I found that I was able to help [my peers] find the right career path, that was my big a-ha moment. And it’s not just going to benefit them; it’s also going to benefit me when I apply to schools and jobs, being able to say I had a part in helping high school students know what they want to do in life. Helping others push forward is what keeps me going.” – Keren Smith, junior at the Berkeley Institute, Bermuda.

Congratulations to all our seniors as they embark on their postsecondary journeys! We can’t wait to see the junior Peer Leaders take the lead at workshops this summer.

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