After 15 years, HiSTEP has made its return to the Webster Groves School District.
HiSTEP, originally emerged from the 80’s, is a peer program of the National Consul on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NCADA) where high school students have the opportunity to teach about issues like bullying, peer pressure, coping skills, etc. to elementary schools in their district.
According to the NCADA, a total of 450 teenagers affected 16,000 elementary and middle schools last year through HiSTEP.
“We see so many teens doing the right thing, yet the press about teens casts them in a negative light. A lot of teens aren’t drinking, drugging or bullying. It is our hope that the teens doing the right things will be willing to and have the courage to talk to their friends and encourage them to head the right direction. Peers have power and we encourage them to use it in positive ways.”, said Marilyn Bader, NCADA prevention coordinator.
Jamesell Kee, a HiSTEP Counseling Intern said, “It’s good to see the student body so active and enthusiastic about going to younger grades and teaching this information.”
Elementary schools like Avery and Edgar Road have taken an interest in the program while other schools are still being contacted.
A+ credit is given to students who participate, maintain good grades, are mature and will be a good influence for children.
Counselor Ken Winingham is the supervisor of HISTEP in the Webster Groves District. Seventeen high school students will be picked to come up with lesson plans, for when they go to younger schools. Students willing to join should see Winingham in his office sometime this year.
“Peers listen to peers, so kids will listen to other kids; our age influences younger kids greatly”, said Winingham.
However, junior Ben Carpenter said “I personally don’t do drugs but with some of the exaggeration used in the drug ed propaganda, I can see why my peers may want to experiment; though, it is a good idea since we need peers teaching peers or others who have gone through the hard experience and can share thoughts on it.”
HiSTEP is one of 48 agencies funded by the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund. Webster is just one of many schools offered this program.