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Teams are energized for the school year after summer workshops 2022

PeerForward’s 2022 workshop season brought back beloved traditions and embraced new partnerships. At Nazareth College, where our three largest workshops ran from July 13-31, we returned to a fully residential workshop model and cultivated one of our most mission-aligned campus partnerships yet. Earlier in the summer, we also trained our second cohort of Peer Leaders in Bermuda and launched our first program in Hawai’i.

Take a look at these shots from our latest Bermuda workshop:

Thanks to the support of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, we have partnered with James Campbell High School on Ewa Beach, Oahu Island, HI. The school has a minority enrollment of 91%, and 32% of students come from low-income backgrounds. The six new Peer Leaders will run campaigns throughout the 2022-23 school year to impact the college-going future of Campbell’s high school population of over 3,000 students. The Peer Leader team will be supported by PeerForward Coaches Cornelius Williams and Chris Shires, alongside their Advisor April Joyce Cacdac.

Through this exciting new partnership, PeerForward aims to help boost higher education attainment in Hawai’i, where only 51% of high school seniors go on to enroll in college. In the Youth Voice Hawai’i Report, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation highlights “academic relevance, life skills preparation, and exposure to pathways … as highly important areas where school system partners have a lot of influence.” We look forward to continuing this partnership in the year to come.

Check out these photos from the workshop in Hawai’i:

Nazareth College in Rochester, NY was our home base for the rest of the season, with hundreds of students from Maryland, Kentucky, California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, DC, and Florida coming together to begin their Peer Leadership journey. Whereas in previous years, PeerForward staff moved around to host regional workshops, this summer students had the opportunity to travel beyond their home state and connect with students from different backgrounds. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to come to New York and be able to do [the workshop],” said Peer Leader Hailey Maggard of Letcher County High School, Kentucky.

Hailey Maggard

Regardless of which region they came from, Peer Leaders found some important commonalities at workshops: they are motivated to continue their education beyond high school and to make a positive difference in their communities.

We were especially excited to welcome our first cohort of Kentucky high school Peer Leaders, following the pilot of our Kentucky PeerForward in College program. Harley Gayhart of Cordia High School shared his motivation for traveling to workshop: “Where I’m from, there’s not many job opportunities. My goal is to help everyone apply to college and explore. Most of the kids in my class don’t know what’s out there. I’m glad that I have this opportunity so I can go back and help them.”

Harley Gayhart

James Hargraves, who teaches at Bowie High School, MD and has served as a PeerForward Advisor for the past five years, spoke about how PeerForward workshops are about more than simply applying to college: “[PeerForward] gives [students] life skills and prepares them for the world they’re going to walk into. Some of them are going to have to be initiators, collaborators; they’re going to have to come up with fresh ideas. Even though this program prepares them for college, it’s a program that also benefits them after college and in life in general.”

James Hargraves

Frank Williams, Nazareth College Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management, shared how the missions of PeerForward and Nazareth align: “The vision of Naz is to make sure that we are increasing that college-going community from students that are coming from low socioeconomic status as well as underrepresented students, and PeerForward has done a great job of doing that.”

Thank you to all our partners for making this summer’s workshops possible!

Check out some photos from our time at Nazareth College this summer:

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