As the end of the school year rapidly approaches, Pace students are getting excited about their summer plans. However, as summer gets closer, so do AP exams, all other exams, and final grades. The last few weeks of school can be some of the most nerve-wracking for students, and for many juniors, this time of year means it’s time to apply for Peer Leadership. A very competitive and somewhat time consuming process, applying for Peer Leadership can be stressful. However, most students are excited to have the chance to play a role in the lives of the incoming freshmen, just as their peer leaders did for them.
The application process for Peer Leadership consists of a number of steps. First, a student must fill out an application form, which involves seven essays with questions such as, “Who is your role model?” and “Describe a difficult situation you faced as a freshman and how, as a peer leader, you would help a ninth grader in a similar situation.” Most students say that this takes about three to four hours to complete, proving to be a daunting task. All applicants must attend a small group session for an hour and a large group session for two hours as well. Students must also be able to attend the overnight Peer Leadership retreat in August and the ninth grade retreat on August 13-15.
Since Peer Leadership meets during D period, candidates have to choose between being a peer leader and newspaper, yearbook, chorus, and other arts and academic offerings, which limits the number of applicants. Ms. Siegel said that she and Mr. Callahan also solicit feedback from teachers, coaches, and current peer leaders to help in the selection process. This year, they must choose eight girls and eight boys from 18 girls and 22 boys who have applied. Ms. Siegel said that “it is exceptionally difficult” to choose, because “there are many more strong leaders than there are positions.”
When the many junior leaders were asked why they wanted to be peer leaders, their responses varied. Jessica DiOrio wants to be a peer leader because she believes that the program bridges the gap between freshmen and seniors and eliminates seniority. Ricardo Goellnicht described it as a “complicated mix of emotions.” Many others, including Hayley Shoji, want to give the new freshmen the same experience they had with their peer leaders as freshmen. Kate Kolbinsky would like to make some changes, such as being able to go off campus to Starbucks or Smoothie King on Thursdays with the freshmen.
While adding stress for juniors near the end of the school year, Peer Leadership continues to be a very popular choice, with almost half of the junior class applying for a position. This year’s applicants are all strong candidates. The final selection will involve some tough choices, but those who are selected are bound to be great.
By Alex Kitchen, Staff Writer ’12

Photo Credit: Alex Kitchen

Get the discussion going! Leave a comment or reply below.