ASB launches new PLUS program

Eric Aviles and Nik Sharma look over some notes before the first PeerPLUS event this year.

Eric Aviles and Nik Sharma look over some notes before the first PeerPLUS event this year.

Vlad Korobkin, Staff Writer

A revival of school spirit and pride has swept the campus since the start of the school year. One of the new organizations designed to connect the students on campus is PLUS.

Started by English teacher and future ASB director Stephanie Nasser, PLUS, short for Peer Leaders Uniting Students, is made up of specially selected sophomores, juniors and seniors who the administration believes can help the school improve.

“It’s all about connections,” Nasser said. “There’s no other way of saying it. It’s simply the connections between all of the students.”

Since the beginning of December, PLUS has gathered around 30 students from various teams, clubs and social groups on campus to discover problems CHS students experience at the school and devise plans to tackle those problems. The PLUS leaders focus on creating a safe environment so every CHS student could feel safe about discussing any issue presented and voice his opinions without fear of being ridiculed.

“For me, the meeting reinforced the idea that we don’t know what our peers go through,” junior Henry Gardner said. “Even the most upbeat guy can be going through a stressful situation at home.”

As their first task, the PLUS leaders explain the goal of the conference and then proceed to facilitate trust-building exercises that prove important lessons in friendship and influence.

After the students split into smaller groups, PLUS addressed issues they experience as students and see on campus or at home that doesn’t allow them to reap the benefits from their education. Some of these problems included bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, suicide, exclusion and many more pertaining to the serious topic of the convention. After shedding light to their problems, the students put their heads together to try and come up with solutions to eliminate and alleviate these problems at CHS.

“By identifying issues we see, we find new ways to reduce the exposure to these risks and search for new ways to overcome troubles presented to us,” junior Nicole Harris said.

Though a majority of students at school believe that Lancer students rarely face such difficult situations, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Many depressed or suicidal students have learned to hide their problems from the rest of the student population and may seem calm and unnerved on the outside, while feeling anguished and tormented on the inside.

According to PLUS, a simple solution exists to battle most of these problems on campus. A simple “hello” or “how’s it going today?” can cheer up any depressed person and give him the comfort of knowing someone cares for his feelings. So, take the initiative and say “hey” to that shy girl in the back of the class. Invite that boy who usually eats lunch alone to go out with you for burritos or compliment a passing stranger with his head down on the stylin’ new jacket he has.

“For a stranger or peer to say ‘hello’ to a depressed person is one of the most important things you can do to help,” senior Levi Sebahar said. “We want to make this a culture of saying hello.”

Want to know more about PLUS? Check out their promo video.