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PALs program continues to improve

Each year the students in the journalism program at PHS finish the course by writing press releases. The class partners with the Princeton Herald to publish the stories. These are also featured on the district website under Latest Headlines. This article is written by Hunter Worthy.

Tayler Cook works with a younger student. The Peer Assistance Leadership (PALs) Program at Princeton High School is an organization designed with the motive of helping the youth of the school district, and the goal is to have a positive impact on younger students.

With this organization’s successful past, administrators continue to look for ways to improve the program. In preparation for the upcoming year, they have decided on a few changes to the structure and selection process in order to carry out their plan efficiently.

“I think they look for students who are willing to go the extra mile to be a role model to help the little kids,” said incoming senior PALs member Alyssa Rivera. “That does not always mean the smartest or most popular; just the ones willing to put in the most effort.”

According to PALs teacher Matthew Riggins, there are going to be significant changes to the program for the upcoming year, and he shared what he envisions changing for the next year.

“So the plan for next year was to have all returning PALs be re-interviewed,” Riggins said. “We also changed the interview questions to make them more complex and generate specific answers. It will make the group more exclusive and enable them to accomplish more overall.”

To go along with the changes to the selection process, Riggins will be the sole PALs instructor.

“At this point we had no additional teachers willing to take on an extra class of PALs, like we did this year,” Riggins said.

Carla Guerra waits for her opportunity to interview for PALs. However, Riggins was given an additional class period for PALs, so this change should not affect the students, although some of the returning PALs will have a different teacher.

Students involved with PALs are optimistic for the upcoming year.

“I have heard about some changes, and I understand it,” Alyssa said. “It will really help with filtering and getting fresh, new minds in the group. The crop of people should be better in terms of carrying out the objective of the program. If anything, there will be more prestige to it all.”

Although plans are underway to prepare for the new school year, the campus schedules will determine how many schools will reap the benefits of having PALs visit campuses as mentors.

“I am glad we can continue with two classes,” Riggins said. “That way, we can maximize our impact and visit as many of the campuses that have a need for us and continue to have a presence at all the elementary schools.”

Riggins and his PALs are confident this program makes a difference through mentoring younger students.

“I think the impact of PALs is far reaching,” he said. “It even changes the lives of the high schoolers who are involved. I think this program should be around for many years to come.”

The PALs program works to mentor kids.