Harlan High hosts PeerForward event

Published 10:20 am Friday, November 11, 2022

Harlan Independent School District’s Harlan High School recently hosted multiple regional schools from around the region to advance the PeerForward program for the new school year.

According to a press release, participants included high school students from Cordia, Buckhorn, and Letcher County. The students traveled to Harlan High School to participate in leadership initiative training to mobilize them to effect change and influence their schools.

PeerForward’s website at www.peerforward.org. states the mission of PeerForward is to unleash the power of positive peer influence to transform the lives of youth living in low-income communities by connecting them to college and careers. The program, formerly known as College Summit, began as a workshop in the basement of a Washington D.C. community center focused on assisting students with their college applications. The

PeerForward program is now a national organization that has assisted over 350,000 students in their quest for higher education.

“PeerForward works with schools to identify teams of student leaders made up of four 12th graders and four 11th graders who have been tagged as influential by their peers. This team of eight students and school advisors receive specialized coaching that enables them to lead and execute three powerful campaigns designed to help get their peers to college,” states the release.

Harlan High School Guidance Counselor Cristal Pace is the school advisor for PeerForward.

“Every parent knows the power of positive friendships. The PeerForward model gives schools and students a framework to capitalize on the power of that influence to help drive students in the right direction,” Pace said. “We are excited to elevate our students and give them this opportunity to drive the culture of their school.”

Harlan High School Seniors Jayden Ward, Jaedyn Gist, Mia Pace, and Abigail Wynn received team member training at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, over the summer. They were trained to implement the

PeerForward program at Harlan High School. The Harlan High School team is rounded out by Junior class members Kyler McClendon, Trenton Childers, Chloe Schwenke, and Jolena Nguyn.