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Senior Peer Leaders Build Leadership Skills at Retreat

Rudy Brandl

Twelve senior peer leaders prepared for their important role of mentoring incoming ninth graders and bonded in the process during this year’s Peer Leadership Retreat, a transformative three-day event focused on team building and leadership development. The retreat was held at Fairview Lake in Stillwater, NJ.

Accompanied by advisors Tanda Tucker and Ryan Oliveira, the seniors actively engaged in a series of collaborative activities, received comprehensive education on diverse leadership topics and successfully completed a challenging obstacle course designed to enhance their leadership abilities. As a result of this immersive experience, our seniors are now fully prepared to guide and support our ninth graders as they navigate their way through an exciting new environment.

The 2023-2024 senior peer leaders include Sarah Alves ’24, Samina Aziz ’24, Amandeep Bahia ’24, Sydney Geissler ’24, Nidhin Kumar ’24, Ahmad Maiga ’24, Gbemi Olarewaju ’24, Diya Patel ’24, Charlie Silver ’24, Luke Tan ’24, Hannah Yin ’24 and Zara Zaidi ’24.

Below are some attributions from this year’s peer leaders:

“The Peer Leadership Retreat was an incredibly amazing experience! There were a range of activities that gave us a platform to connect with each other on a deeper level. The retreat gave us the chance to talk to people we might not have been as close with and really bond with each other outside of a school setting. We learned that everybody is much more similar than we thought going into this process, and we also learned more about our own unique skills as leaders and individuals. We have all grown so much in so many different ways, especially in the trust we have in each other and ourselves. The Peer Leadership Retreat has left a profound impact on us and as we move forward, the memories and insights gained from the retreat will undoubtedly continue to shape our paths as peer leaders in meaningful ways. We’re very excited for the coming school year, and can’t wait to see what we and our lovely co-leaders are able to accomplish!”

- Sarah, Ahmad, Diya

"The Peer Leadership retreat was a great experience that presented challenging activities, opportunities to learn about ourselves as leaders, and moments to become closer with our fellow peer leaders. We enjoyed the group challenges from the ASE course the most. We’re very excited to see how these skills and relationships we developed translate into peer leadership during the year!"

- Charlie and Hannah

"Throughout the course of our peer leadership retreat, we discovered more about ourselves as leaders, individuals, and team players. We engaged in vulnerable discussion, learned to trust each other as well as challenged ourselves on the ASE course, and connected with each other on a deeper level.  We are looking forward to using what we learned in our peer retreat to form a meaningful relationship with our peer kids. Our favorite part about the retreat was exploring our fellow peer leaders’ leadership styles while connecting and bonding with them emotionally."

- Nidhin and Gbemi

"The focus of our peer retreat was developing leadership skills while gaining a deeper connection with everyone. We did many team bonding activities, but we have to say our favorite was the ASE course. While it was very fun, it also kept us on our toes to find a solution. As well, it taught us the basics to being a diligent leader, like not speaking over anyone else. This retreat made us more excited to meet our peer kids because we get to take them through this experience as well in November."

- Amandeep and Samina 

"The peer leadership retreat was a great experience! Through our time in both activities/discussions and free time, we grew closer and learned how to be better leaders and communicators. Our favorite parts were the ASE and pre-ASE exercises, since they really challenged us to trust each other and work as a team. Overall, the program helped us understand how we each have different leadership styles but can work together to provide the best experience for our peer kids. We look forward to the retreat with the rest of our group in November!"

- Zara, Sydney, Luke