PALS Applications Open to 2020 Seniors

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PALS Applications Open to 2020 Seniors

A PALS riding group making memories before heading to Cline Elementary

A PALS riding group making memories before heading to Cline Elementary

A PALS riding group making memories before heading to Cline Elementary

A PALS riding group making memories before heading to Cline Elementary

Maddie Smith, Chief Editor

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The Peer Assistance and Leadership program, more commonly known as PALS, has been a highly sought after class since its creation at FHS in the 1990s. Taught by Melissa Victorick for the past 10 years, the PALS program pairs seniors with elementary and junior high students in need of a friend or mentor.

The PALS application opens to juniors every February around Valentine’s Day. Victorick does not take choosing future PALS lightly. There is a thorough application and interview process with funny and personal questions alike.

It was definitely long and tedious with numerous questions asking if you were an animal what would you be. If your application was selected you would also have a follow up interview. It was a stressful and anxious experience,” senior Jenna Moffitt said.

According to Mrs. Victorick, these unique techniques and questions help to find people who are creative, patient, approachable, open minded, good at solving problems, and caring.

“PALS have a lift as you climb mentality. I want a PAL who will help others while striving for their own successes,” Victorick said.

During the first nine weeks, the PALS class trains in order to be prepared for any obstacle they might face with the younger students.

“The training we did helped me with an extremely hard situation with my first grader,” senior Jake Sansom said.

These challenges, however, don’t come without rewards.

“Even though it’s hard sometimes when your PAL wants to something messy or play outside when it’s raining, it is very rewarding when they are just excited to see you or hug you. That’s the best feeling ever,” senior Mae McAninch said.

The PALS programs helps not only the younger students, but the seniors as well. The relationships made change the seniors for the better and make them more adapt as soon to be adults.

“Seniors get to understand that not everything that is different is a crisis. They also understand responsibility, knowing someone is counting on them to be at a certain place at a certain time. The younger student gets a friend, someone who has their back, will tell the truth, and wants only the best for them,” Victorick said.

The relationships and connections created through the PALS program are abundant, various, and long lasting.

“PALS has influenced me in multiple ways. It has changed my career path from wanting to be a journalist to psychiatrist to help kids get on the right track before adulthood,” senior Roderick Hutchinson said.

According to Victorick, most if not all PALS remember their students and vice versa. Along with the PAL-student relationships, seniors create unique bonds within their PALS class periods.

“Our class is super close. Throughout the year we have had ‘circle time’ where we answer either a really funny or serious question. Through circle time, many kids have laughed so hard they thought they were going to pee themselves but also real tears have been shed,” senior McKinley Young said.