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Trinity's peer ministers conduct mini-retreat

Dickinson Trinity High School students applied their training as peer ministers to present a mini-retreat for sixth graders at Trinity Elementary East and West.

At the invitation of the schools' principal Sister Dorothy Zeller, the team of 14 seniors talked about relationships among students. The topics started with formal presentations, followed by break-out sessions for boys and girls.

Senior Daniel Carr said the students talked about everyday issues such as gossiping and bullying.

"I think we as seniors have great importance to the younger kids. We can really influence them in their transition from sixth grade to junior high," he said.

Senior Amy Grinsteinner said the retreat started with prayer, followed by videos and discussion groups. The team talked about bullying, gossiping and clicks, and tried to prepare the students for coming to Trinity High next year.

"Basically, we help ease seventh graders into the Trinity family and help with any issues. It's a stressful time in their lives," she said.

Grinsteinner said the girls on the team attended a leadership camp last summer at the Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton. Under the guidance of Sister Regina Murray, they learned what to expect when working with young students.

Senior Tyler Barth said the team is new this year. From his experiences at the mini-retreat, he learned the boys had concerns about bullying.

"We tried to show them how it would feel if they were in the other person's shoes or examples from our lives," he said. "Right away, they were a little quiet, but when we started, they seemed to open up a little bit."

Adult leadership is provided by Trinity's director of religious education Cherie Roshau, along with Craig Kovash and Amanda Ellerkamp.

"A lot of these kids are very involved in extracurricular activities. They are visible models for the young people," said Roshau.

"We have young people taking very strong leadership roles and taking it to a higher level," she said.

"We have another retreat coming up in two or three weeks for the seventh graders, covering relationships," said Roshau.

"Kids don't realize how cruel they are in the midst of their junior high years. Sometimes, they need to have a leader in front of them to realize they are hurting another human being by their actions, by their words or by their lack of actions," she said.

An earlier project was helping the seventh graders make the transition from elementary school to junior high.

"It's a scary event for a lot of them. We're trying to get the kids more comfortable in their new situation," she said.

The peer counselors meet over the noon hour on a weekly basis.

The peer ministers are: Mary Brooke, Amy Grinsteinner, Noel Lynch, Jennifer Fisher, Katie Gordon, Chelsea Roshau, Janessa Meyer.

Also, Tyler Barth, Dan Carr, Stephane Blanchard, Jacob Selinger, Ben Franchuk, Scott Murphy and Derek Northrop.