MSD Principal Michelle Kefford starts ‘Keffords Kids’ mentoring program

Peer counselors mentor students in the media center. They form a connection and get to know each other while also learning more about MSD.

Kelly Cooke, Writer

“Kefford’s Kids,” a student-to-student mentorship program, was started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Principal Michelle Kefford with the goal of helping middle schoolers/underclassmen transition more easily to high school.

“[The program is] an opportunity to build relationships with students that [the high schoolers] normally would not interact with. It’s done very well in the past, we just did the kick off so the relationships are just now starting,” Kefford said.

Serving as the mentors are MSD students enrolled in peer counseling and leadership. The peer counselors and leadership students support the underclassmen by helping them with their homework, tutoring and talking to them to form a friendship.

Assistant Principal Kristine Knapp is in charge of “Kefford’s Kids.” The staff came together to form this program because they wanted the underclassmen to be more involved in the school, especially important due to the fact that the last time the freshmen had a full normal school year pre-COVID-19 was in the sixth grade.

The mentor will pull their mentee out of study hall for about 20 minutes every other week. The first gathering was celebrated with pizza and drinks. Students participated in a MSD trivia game where they learned more about the school.

“As a peer counselor, I am always trying to help others out. I thought this program was a cool idea because the younger students get more interested in school things and have someone to talk to,” junior John Nance said. “The first meeting had a lot going on with all the activities the staff set up for everyone.”

Danielle Driscoll, Student Government Association teacher, was the host of the trivia, along with some of her leadership students who handed out tickets for a raffle. The winner of the raffle received a Starbucks gift card.

“I think that the program is a good idea. With all the activities that went on, I feel like the kids were getting more comfortable. I am excited to mentor the freshmen and sophomores,” senior Chloe Chiriboga said.

The hope for the program is that through time, the students will get more comfortable with their mentors and make new friends in the program. They will also learn more about the MSD resources and staff along the way.