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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Peer counseling provides unique opportunity

A huddle of girls stand in front of the junior high office looking anxious as copious amounts of junior highers stream around them. Nervousness permeates the group as a 7th grade girl approaches them.

Hesitant smiles form as the high schoolers glance uncertainly at each other. The young girl says her name hoping to find her new friend and at once the ice breaks. The high school girls start claiming their “sisters” for the Sister 2 Sister program run by the peer counseling class, a new addition to the elective options on campus.

The class is advised by Molly Sargent, dean of women, who decided, in light of the difficulties that many girls experience during junior high, that a class should be offered to help the girls.

“At the time, I had a daughter in seventh grade,” Sargent said. “And I noticed that many of the girls were having difficulties, because they had no one to talk to about their troubles.”

The class is three-fold in its purpose; combining counseling with a Bible and leadership class for a unique opportunity.

“Not only do we provide someone for the junior high girls to talk to,” Sargent said. “The class also teaches the [high school] girls life and communications skills they will use for the rest of their lives.”

With only nine senior and junior girls, the class has a close intimate setting that is conducive to solving problems and helping each other grow in their relationships with God.

“We’ve learned how to have a conversation without putting someone on the defensive,” Erin Elmore, ’06, said. “It’s been really interesting learning why people react the way they do to certain situations.”

The class also provides confidence for the girls in conveying their Christian beliefs to strangers.

“Along with the class making them better listeners and refining their verbal communication skills it will help them to share their beliefs with people they don’t know very well,” Sargent said.

As a teacher’s aide last year, Danae Cook, ’05, helped Sargent put the curriculum together, sparking her interest in joining the class.

“Mrs. Sargent had me type a bunch of stuff for the class,” Cook said. “It looked interesting so I decided to join. It looked like a fun class.”

One person was so interested in joining the class that she gave up a seven year music career to solve the scheduling conflict between the band and peer counseling class periods.

“I want to become a psychologist, so I thought this class would give me a taste for what my career would be like,” Melinda Davis, ’05, said. “Plus, I felt it was time to move on from band and try something that would push me to do things outside of my usual comfort zone.”

The class is geared to draw from the upper classmen, juniors and seniors, as Sargent wanted the junior high girls to have an older role model.

“I didn’t want to have 14-year-olds mentoring 12-year-olds,” Sargent said. “It didn’t seem like a big enough age difference. The older girls will be able to offer better advice about high school, having been there longer.”

The first lunch with the junior high girls was on Dec 10 and another lunch will take place on Dec. 17. Many of the seventh graders are looking forward to learning more about high school life.

“I think it’ll be good for getting information on what to expect when I get older,” Donna*, ’10, said. I think they [older “sisters”] will be fun to hang out with and guide me.” *(name changed for confidentiality)

So far, the class seems to be a positive presence on campus, as many of the girls who did not apply this year plan to join next year.

“When I first heard about it [peer counseling] it didn’t sound very interesting,” Rebecca Wilson, ’06, said. “But, after hearing people talk about how fun it is and how it is great to help people, I think I might want to join next year.”

Sargent also plans on continuing the class next year.

“I sure hope the class continues next year,” Sargent said. “I enjoy it, but I would probably add more structure to the class and pair up the girls from junior high and high school sooner.”

Sargent’s goal for the program is to provide a positive environment for young girls who are growing up in a confusing world.

“I hope to raise up young women to be leaders for Christ, in a world desperate for answers,” Sargent said.

For more information about the peer counseling contact Molly Sargent at [email protected] or at 299-1695, ext. 150.” “Brianna Stobbe, Photographer” “Amid their class training, the peer conseling class also did an inductive Bible study on Romans 12 and 13. Here Danea Cook, ’05 (left to right), Corrine Pogue and Michelle DiBuduo, both ’06, complete their study worksheets on Romans.” “” “” “Insert text here

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