Who are the PEERS?


The Peer dance at the Back to School Assembly is always a crowd favorite.

Abby Harpman, contributor

Maybe you know of the Peers for their annual dance in the Back to School assembly. Or maybe you know of the peers because they barged into your class, screaming and dancing, on Valentine’s Day. Yes, the Peers Program does do these things, but they are also so much more.

The peers are part of the backbone of Rocky Mountain High School’s well-known culture. However, most students don’t truly understand all that the peers do for the school or what it takes to get in to the program.

Peers receive multiple trainings on important topics that affect the community.

One of the trainings is for the Sexual Assault Response Team, or “SART Peers,” which is through SAVA. This training is an all-day long training in which the peers are given many statistics, facts, and learn ways to educate and prevent sexual assault.

Another all-day training is called Healthy Relationships, and it is given through Crossroads Safehouse. At this training, the peers learn the different types of relationship abuse, how to educate others, and what they can do to prevent dating violence.

There are multiple other trainings, such as suicide prevention, basic counseling, and eating disorders.

The Peer program at Rocky is lead by Mrs. Madden, Mrs. Wagner and Mr. Dyer.

There is a designated “peer room” at Rocky, which is a safe place for students to go and look for support. However, “being a peer doesn’t just happen in the peer room,” Mrs. Madden said, “it happens on the field, in the classroom and all around.”

The peers help out with a lot of activities at school and around the community, but most of their work is behind the scenes. Every year, there are events which require help from the peers. Peers play a role in the Adopt-A-Family distribution day and several other events.

This year, the peers helped run the “Mental Health Matters” event, as well as the Sexual Assault Awareness Month event, called the “SAAM Talks.”

There is a specific selection process for the peers. Each year, applications to be a peer counselor go out in March. Current sophomores and juniors may apply. Students are typically given two or three weeks to finish their application.

The applications include a personal data page, written responses, and three teacher recommendations. When students turn in their application, they are required to sign up for a group interview. Typically 60-80 students turn in an application. The group interviews are run by current peer counselors.

Based on the application, teacher recommendations, and group interview, about half the students who applied will go on to the second round. Letters are distributed which tell the students if they made it to the second round or not.

The second round of the selection process includes two interviews. One of the interviews is an individual interview with Mrs. Madden and Mrs. Wagner. The other interview is an individual interview with one or two current peer counselors.

After all the interviews are conducted, a selection committee will deliberate and come to a decision on each student. The committee takes all aspects of the applications and interviews into consideration. Sometimes, the selection committee will even go out and talk to other teachers about certain students before making decisions.

The selection committee’s process is very thorough and thoughtful. Once they are finished, the final round of letters go out. These letters inform the students whether or not they were chosen to be a peer counselor.

Each year, the peer group consists of around 30 students.

The committee tries to find a diverse group, with varying hobbies and experiences. “We want the students to be able to look at the peer group, and find someone who has had the same experiences as them. We want every student to feel as though they can relate to at least one person in the peers,” an anonymous member of the selection committee said.

The peer program does a lot of hard-work behind the scenes to keep Rocky the great place that it is. And all students should know that if they need anything, the peers are eager to help.