By Rebecca Smoot
WHS is revamping an already successful program, The Guy and Girl Thing, to create an outlet for students to open up about challenges they are facing inside and outside of school. These meetings, or “hangouts,” are led by seniors and are coordinated by Health Teacher Ms. Susan Kolesar.
Hangouts are scheduled to start in the upcoming weeks and each hangout has a specific topic such as anxiety, divorce, and loss to name a few. What really makes this new addition to the Guy and Girl Thing unique is that students are the ones facilitating these hangouts.
Before these hangouts were implemented, the Guy and Girl Thing was a series of in-school field trips where seniors would read letters based on ‘What I wish I knew as an underclassman.’ Now, the program is changing into more of an all-year, support-based group.
Kolesar said, “Over the years, it became apparent to me that so many seniors who wrote anonymous letters we read at the events expressed that they felt alone through their challenges… So this year, I wanted to focus on helping students feel less alone.”
These hangouts are dedicated to students who may be going through difficult times and need someone to talk to. Senior Chloe Schafer said, “It is going to help underclassman, whether they are dealing with something small like academic stress or even bigger issues like divorce, to be able to better cope and meet other underclassman dealing with the same things.”
On Sept. 2, the 31 Guy and Girl Thing facilitators attended a retreat coordinated by the staff of Imagine, a charity that helps kids cope with loss. This retreat wasn’t easy, according to senior Matt Hamelburg, “It was a little uncomfortable because we were basically sharing parts of our life stories with people who I have gone to school with but who have never known the real me,” he said.
Although WHS already has the Transition program implemented to help freshmen acclimate to the high school experience, the Guy and Girl Thing focuses more on counseling. Students will voluntarily decide to go to these hangouts based on challenges they are facing. Both of these programs are working to help create a more accepting and inclusive environment at WHS.
“I think this program has become a staple at WHS, but I would still like it to grow,” said Kolesar. Keep an eye out for the schedule for these hangouts, which will be posted in the both cafeterias soon.