MC has pride for its community’s diligence in following the Sundevil way, an idea that each and every member of the campus is to be treated with kindness and respect. MC’s Peer Counseling club works towards facilitating such an environment.
The club is made up of students who excel in demonstrating the Sundevil Way throughout all aspects of their lives. To assist in their knowledge of how to properly help others, these students undergo training organized by Mrs. Bronson and Mrs. Hatfield, as well as Ms. Tran. All three women work in counseling; Mrs. Bronson and Ms. Tran are counselors, while Mrs. Hatfield works in student services at MC.
“Peer counselors commit to training in things like conflict resolution, communication skills, healthy relationships, healthy boundaries, and confidentiality scenarios,” Bronson said.
The emphasized topics are not only for peer counseling, but also for life. This generous program helps shape students into more well-rounded individuals while teaching them lessons that will stick with them throughout their lives.
“Communication skills; those are things that are going to help you no matter what you do in life, no matter where you are on campus. […] I also always love seeing students have those ‘aha moments’, like, ‘Oh, I never thought of phrasing it that way,’ or ‘I see how that changes the dynamic of the conversation,’” Bronson said.
As Vice President of the Club, senior Amber Kurtz has gotten to know the club quite well.
“I love the people, everyone is so kind, and they’re all passionate. The trainings are all really interesting. It’s just a great way to meet people and learn about yourself, how to deal with other people, and how to handle tough situations,” Kurtz said.
The Sundevils who make up the club are a diverse group of representatives. MC is proud to have a culture made up of students of many ethnicities who come from varying backgrounds, which is why Peer Counseling finds it especially important to highlight equal representation.
“It’s about having representatives from all walks of life, all different areas of campus to be kind, support people, listeners, and ambassadors for the Sundevil Way,” Bronson said.
After completing many training sessions, counselors better understand the true practice of the Sundevil Way. The goal is for peer counselors to not only show the Sundevil Way throughout the MC, campus- but outside of it as well.
“The hope is that they’re not just peer counselors when we come together, but they are peer counselors on their teams, […] in the drama department, [..] in orchestra, so that they’re able to put those skills that they learn to support students,” Bronson said.
While giving support, being positive, and understanding how to have healthy relationships are key in Peer Counseling, another essential factor is knowing how to help themselves as well. It’s important that these ambassadors feel cared for.
“A lot of what we do is supporting peer counselors getting back on campus, and making sure they’re taking care of themselves and their own mental health so that they can support others,” Bronson said.
Most peer counselors are students with a lot on their plates. Counselors in the past experienced burnout from handling too many things, so the advisors decided to make some changes.
“We tried to refocus the program to not just what can peer counselors do for us, but what can we do for peer counselors. Empowering peer counselors to take care of themselves and to have some fun, you know. To have some joy to look forward to in their day,” Bronson said.
By empowering peer counselors, they can make an impact on any part of the school they’re involved in.
“So they felt capable of going off onto their team and being a mentor, and being a support to someone who may be in crisis, or back onto their club, or into the theatre department, or to the band, or robotics, or whatever kind of area of campus they were part of,” Bronson said.
Peer Counseling organizes special events to help out students, especially Sundevils who are new to campus.
“We host new student lunches, as we have a lot of new students that enroll throughout the year at Mt. Carmel, so we’ll do that once each trimester. […] When we have new students or students that are struggling a little bit that just need a buddy to walk around with that lunch or to, you know, just to have someone that they can talk to,” Bronson said.
So, what is MC Peer Counseling’s overall mission? For all Sundevil families, students, and staff to know that #YouMatter.