Building Student LeadersThe STAR (Students Taking an Action Role) program has produced leaders in high school and is now a means to organizing students in middle school for positive peer group interaction. After reviving the Triton Regional High School student council last year, adjustment counselor Rebecca Fish found herself being recruited to do the same, this time in the middle school.

“It’s that bridge between middle and high school,” Fish said of Students Taking an Action Role (STAR). “The goal is to make a peer group of students who want to make a difference in their community but starting it a little bit younger.”

Most, if not all, Triton middle school students have built up some experience with community service while at their respective elementary schools; and the middle school for years has also been running a canned food drive each January, called “Canuary,” that benefits local homeless shelters.

Fish wanted to add a new after-school activity as the 2013-2014 school year began, and expanding peer leadership at the middle school on a consistent basis made sense.

“The kids are used to doing community service stuff,” said Fish. “Which is important and we want to always foster that. But I think learning how to become peer leaders is something that the middle school and, frankly, anything could benefit from. It would be nice to have a specific organization that is really strong so that they can learn to become leaders right from the get-go when they come into seventh grade; and by the time they transition into the high school, they are ready to rock.”

Fish soon met with a trio of seventh-graders and STAR was officially born in November.Building Student Leaders

“They didn’t want to just be the student council or just be community service,” Fish said of the abbreviation. “They wanted to put a neat name to it.”

Once the club was formed, Fish went about recruiting, and student council member and peer mediator while at Newbury Elementary School, Sophie Proctor, a seventh-grader, made STAR a quartet.

“It just looked like fun,” said Proctor. “I like to help out and stuff and it’s turned out to be a lot of fun.”

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