The Peer Education program is supported by a foundation created by Tom and Pam O’Neil, with the consultation of Dr. Charles Deutsch of the Harvard School of Public Health. It was created in memory of their 17 year old son, Christopher, who was killed in 1992 in what is often described as a drunk driving “accident”. These accidents are preventable. The goal of Peer Education is to promote healthy decisions by addressing attitudes that often lead to unhealthy risks.
At Calvert Hall, in 1994, Anne Hilgartner established the first class of Peer Educators. Since that time, she has shaped the program into one in which the students themselves foster a culture that reflects our school’s values. In 2013, Joey Atas assumed the responsibility of overseeing the program with the assistance of Kevin Ford, Kevin Hattrup, and Meaghan Tracey, and eleven classroom faculty observers.
More than 20 years after its establishment, the program still strives to increase awareness about the positive or negative impact that a single decision can have on someone’s life. The intent is not to prescribe specific behaviors, but rather to encourage critical thinking and discussion among our students. In addition, the presence of peers as teachers provides a model of how to have constructive and thoughtful discussions on a variety of topics.