MILLSTONE — Millstone Middle School last week hosted "New Jersey Peer to Peer Marches On," a special event designed to bring together more than 225 middle school students and their adult mentors from all around the state of New Jersey.
The purpose of the event was an exploration of diversity, tolerance and safety in the schools and communities. It brought together students involved in New Jersey Peer to Peer (NJPTP), which was developed by the Princeton Center for Leadership Training and sponsored by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
In 130 middle schools across all 21 counties of the state, NJPTP trains middle school students in leadership skills, group facilitation, problem solving and prevention issues. Student leaders then outreach to their peers during the course of the school year through interactive student-led workshops.
During the Marches On event, students demonstrated the work they are doing in their schools and had opportunities to learn how other schools are handling the same issues.
The students and their adult mentors also experienced a new prevention module focused on exploring issues of diversity and community. This activity was aimed at increasing awareness of multicultural issues that affect attitudes and behaviors in schools and at building on identified strengths to embrace, enhance and understand all the aspects of diversity issues.
In recent months, Millstone Middle School has been plagued by graffiti, particularly swastika symbols, and administrators have been working to sensitize the students to the negative impact of such actions.
Dr. Margo Ross, director of the NJPTP group, said, "There is a critical need to address issues of diversity and community within our schools right now. NJPTP Marches On was an opportunity for students to come together from across the state to explore important issues for people of different races, religions and cultures."
The adult mentors for the Millstone group were teachers Audrey Ferraro, Kristin Hayes and Heather Savard.
Ferraro commended the student peer leaders for their commitment and dedication to the program. The student peer leaders are Sandi Jean Gigantino, Chelsey Quaglietta, Anthony Burman, Johnny McDermott, Alysse Mantel, Katie Boss, Tim Ortenzio, Arielle Bavarsky, Melissa Perri, Lauren Seranno, Ashley Toms and Caroline DeFilippis.