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Saint Thomas Academy Peer Mentors in uniform outside of the school in uniform
Annie Odegard
Photo from the balcony down onto the Saint Thomas Academy Peer Mentor team for 2019-20

Established in 1995, The Peer Mentor program at Saint Thomas Academy has taken on different roles and participated in different activities over the years but, the mission has always remained the same. The mission is to develop a core group of students who are skilled in the following areas: help other students experience a sense of belonging, support students during times of personal difficulty, assist students in developing their intellectual, moral, spiritual, social-emotional and physical potential, refer students to supportive adults when necessary and respect the need for confidentiality.

Moderated by Mr. Justin Larson, a Licensed School Counselor, the Peer Mentors have not only grown in number, but in outreach opportunities as well as the years have gone on as the group now includes 30 junior members and 4 senior captains. In addition, the Peer Mentors have also partnered with the Admissions and Marketing Department at Saint Thomas Academy. "Partnering with the Admissions and Marketing Department has been a welcome change for our program. The ideas that are not only generated, but then carried out, align with the Peer Mentor mission, especially  when welcoming new students into our community and helping them feel like they belong right away" Larson said.

The Peer Mentors have also taken on a new venture - texting new students weekly over the summer. The texting program provides new students with opportunities to ask questions and to build friendships with current STA students as the new school year approaches. The program has also been a part of VISTA tailgates, admission showcase events, planning and facilitating Freshman and Sophomore retreats, and their biggest event - Freshman Fun Night, a co-sponsored event with the Peer Mentors from Visitation for freshmen of both schools mid-winter. 

For students that are interested in joining the team, the application and selection process begins in April by first completing the application. Current Peer Mentors, along with Mr. Larson, then read, review, and score the applications and advance the top half scorers into the interview phase. After interviews are completed and scored, newly selected Peer Mentors are announced in May. Captains will go through a similar application and interview process as well.