Archive for November, 2010

School Counselor Talks about Leadership

November 19th, 2010

Freeport Middle School began the year with 25 interested 8th graders in our Peer Leader program. The first project was to work as a group on ways they could educate their peers during the National Drug Facts Week.  This turned into a very powerful project for the students in several ways. We were lucky enough to have one of our parents, who works in the graphic design field, volunteer to help the students create a dynamic large bulletin board which was designed to look like a graffiti wall.  Our slogan was “Shatter the Myths about Drug Use”.

Peer Leaders

The students researched facts that would educate the school on the harms and facts regarding drug use. Students took turns hosting a Drug Facts table in the cafeteria during lunches. Students were asked to look into the mystery box to see what the one thing was that would keep them drug free ( A mirror inside the box showed the students their own reflection!) Several students began each morning with very catchy student written announcements using drama and music to capture the school’s attention.

After our week of activities some exciting things began to happen.  We could feel the energy and enthusiasm building as students brainstormed ideas for the next project, Alcohol Awareness Day.  We had 4 new students ask if they could join our group, making us a very lively group of 29! Two students mentioned that they have never been involved in a school club before and that Tuesday was the only day they like to come to school, because Tuesday is Peer Leader meeting day. One of these students has previously been very reserved, however now she has begun sharing at every meeting and is volunteering to stay after school to work on Peer Leader projects. Two other students had a conversation around how powerful  and good they feel when they wear the Peer Leader t -shirts we supplied each member.  We are continually impressed with the ideas and thought these students bring and know that by them being involved in educating their peers we are creating true leaders who feel empowered to make a difference.

Phyllis Latham, School Counselor,  Freeport Middle School

Freeport Middle School Leaders!

November 5th, 2010

The Freeport Middle School Peer Leaders Program fosters leadership that empowers FMS students to make good decisions in their lives as well as inspire them to follow their passions and strive to reach their personal goals.  At this stage in adolescent development, decisions are made with significant influence from peers.  FMS Peer Leaders are provided with training and skills to engage middle school students in meaningful discussions about critical issues including risky behaviors.  Experience demonstrates that these discussions and resulting decisions impact the students academically, socially and emotionally in numerous settings including school, home and in the community. 

This year the FMS Leaders will work with Project AWARE in developing initiatives to raise awareness and educate the school and greater community about issues that concern them. The goal is to create one high quality video public service announcement, host a Project AWARE Players presentation for the entire school, lead a poster campaign aimed at FMS students, and host three Peer Leader presentations for school staff, parents and other adults. All this along with daily education activities including an updated bulletin board, poster campaigns, lunchroom multi-media presentations, daily announcements through e-mail, office, and more … all aimed at improving the climate in their school and addressing issues identified by the FMS Peer Leaders including tobacco, drugs, alcohol, labels, abuse, eating disorders, internet safety, and stress.

The FMS Peer Leaders have often directly experienced the issues identified. For these young people additional very important objectives include, (1) to experience the power of creative expression and address one of the root causes of youth dis-empowerment – low self-esteem; (2) to inspire and act as role models while raising awareness among people of all ages about the issues faced by youth; (3) to support a plan for young people to use their boundless energy and awareness to make a lasting impact in their communities; (4) and to encourage and support a growing community of young people making healthy choices and engaging with their peers in a kind and respectful way..

For more information on this program and / or how you can do something similar in your school please contact Carl Lakari at 207-282-5598 or

Some of the FMS Peer Leaders