BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As high schoolers hunker down for another lengthy period of distance learning, four Golden Valley seniors have started a student support group to help struggling teens navigate the isolation of online school.
While the meetings remain small, founder Jayden Reyes Sarmiento says THRIVE has made a tremendous impact on students’ social and emotional well-being.
“This program is about supporting one another so that we can get through these tough times together,” Reyes Sarmiento said.
She and three of her classmates launched the student-run service in mid-October. The seniors wanted to help high schoolers navigate the loss of social interaction and offer tips on how to combat the learning loss from a lack of in-person instruction.
“I have a good support system at home, and that’s what motivated me to keep on top of my work during distance learning,” Reyes Sarmiento said. “I know many students at my school don’t have that, and I felt like they needed a place where they can have social interaction.”
Gerardo Bernal is a fellow THRIVE team member and says their weekly Zoom meetings are full of helpful advice. He believes the peer interaction is making a notable difference in and out of the classroom.
“The response from students has provided me an insane amount of motivation to keep this program going and expand it,” said Bernal. “We want to continue to support as many students as we can.”
Golden Valley Assistant Principal Kyle Wylie oversees the student-run club and believes the opportunity will be a game-changer for struggling students.
“In the middle of the darkness that is distance learning, this the is light,” Wylie said. “There is hope because of these four students.”
The career educator says these students’ willingness to go above and beyond their studies has inspired other schools in the District. Wylie said eight schools have reached out looking to start their version of THRIVE.
“In a world that is so egocentric, it’s nice to see you have students that are very selfless and are very giving of their peers,” Wylie said.
If you would like to find out more about THRIVE, click here.