Peer to Peer Connects Bismarck Public School Students

Bismarck - A group of Bismarck Public School students are learning the power of friendship.

Through "Peer to Peer" mentoring, kids with disabilities are getting involved in school and getting connected with their fellow classmates.

But what started as a class, has soon become much more teaching kids that making an impact can start by simply making friends.

Making new friends can be hard.

But for students like Elizabeth, meeting new kids is now a little bit easier.

"People can come and have fun, no matter if they have a disability or not," Elizabeth Romanick, Century High School, senior says,

"Peer to Peer," a class that began in Century High School, pairs students with and without disabilities teaching them to connect, learn, and become friends.

Because this teacher knows being included in school means more than having access to the same classes.

"We really wanted to try to figure out how could be get some of those opportunities for our individuals with disabilities but then also some really good leadership skills for our students without disabilities," Sara Bohrer, "Peer to Peer" teacher, Century High School says.

Getting kids to connect with new people outside of school.

But what started out as a class soon became a culture.

"I think it's important that everybody sees that these kids don't have disabilities they have special abilities," Jacee Estes, Century High School senior says.

Jacee says the friends she's made through "Peer to Peer" have taught her some important lessons.

"Reach out to some of these kids they're not that different from the rest of us and when you get to know them they're really funny and they're just like the rest of your friends," Estes says.

And now, Elizabeth is taking what she's learned in the classroom, and reaching out to others.

"People can come if they're new faces, new to school, I'm there for them in case they need help," Romanick says.

Because Elizabeth says, the kids in "Peer to Peer," are there for each other.

"Just call them up, they will help you no matter what happens, they are always there for you. and they always have your back," Romanick says.

Which might just be the biggest lesson of all. 

After three years, "Peer to Peer" has grown.

The program is now a part of all three Bismarck Public High Schools, Century, Legacy and Bismarck High School. 

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