Peer Leadership Continues to Make Their Footprint in the Community


Jake Haley, Paperclip Staff/Writer

The Portsmouth High School Peer Leadership club helped raise $24,262 for the PHS Unified Programs and NH Special Olympics through the Penguin Plunge, which took place at Hampton Beach on February, 12, 2023. This broke the previous donation record of $15,702 and a new record of participants was set at 45 people.

“[The] Penguin plunge was phenomenal, it was the most participants we’ve had,” says Brian Rogers, Peer Leadership supervisor. 

In addition to the Penguin Plunge, members of Peer Leadership can be found throughout Portsmouth impacting the community in a variety of ways. “The goal [of Peer Leadership] is to obviously make an impact in the community, but to do it as a group,” says President Aaron Gonzales, a senior at PHS. 

Gonzales works hand in hand with Rogers who received the supervisor position when another Portsmouth High School teacher stepped down. “It worked out perfectly,” Rogers explained. “I loved the idea of being involved in community service.” 

Members of Peer Leadership work in a group while volunteering their time at the Little Harbor Elementary School. Once a week at 2:30pm, students travel down to Little Harbor and “act as a big buddy to elementary students,” says Heather Perigny, a third-grade teacher at Little Harbor Elementary School in Portsmouth. 

Ms. Perigny started the after-school program years ago with a high school student/former Little Harbor graduate. “It is a symbiotic relationship where both sides benefit,” she says. 

Prior to the pandemic, the Clippers Foundation was generous enough to award a grant to Ms. Perigny. She used it to redo a space within Little Harbor for the after-school program where high school students come down once a week and make crafts, play games, and interact with younger children in the classroom. Now, it is an essential part of Peer Leadership and she hopes the program progresses in the future.

Peer Leadership continues to grow its presence in the community in and around Portsmouth. For incoming and current PHS students, “if you want to make new friends and are a community driven person, Peer Leadership is a great club for you,” says Gonzales. 

Peer Leadership meets every Thursday during lunch in the Little Theater. Reach out to Aaron Gonzales or Mr. Rogers if interested.