Offering a Helping Hand


The peer assist class makes fruit salad. Photo courtesy of Bernadette Sobel.

Maddie DeBiase and Sarah Casey

       The peer-assist classes offered at Foran High School allow students to interact with and help other students in the class with disabilities. The different types of peer assist classes offered consist of peer-assist culinary, gym, and music. 

       Mrs. Bernadette Sobel, the culinary teacher at Foran, also teaches the peer-assist culinary classes. Sobel says, ¨Most of the class is interactive and hands-on, and we provide demonstrations for the students and then the students help one another master the recipe skills of measuring and basic culinary techniques that they can practice at home. ̈ 

       For example, junior at Foran, Mia Nittoly, took peer assist culinary last year and said, ¨I learned how to cook chocolate chip cookies, pizza, and croissants .”̈

       Mrs. Kathy Ganun, one of the gym teachers at Foran, teaches peer-assist gym. This program gives people with disabilities an opportunity to learn different ways to get physical activity in school and at home as well. Ganun says, “I would say my favorite part of these classes is watching the interactions, camaraderie, and connections that the students make like it was touching to see the star quarterback interacting with one of his peer students in the hallway.” Not only do the peer assist classes enable the students to engage in activities, but they also create relationships between the unified students and the other students.

       The band teacher at Foran, Ms. Jessica Turner, teaches the peer-assist music class. During this class, students with special needs are able to learn different ways to make music by using many different instruments. Senior, Lexie Burwell, took this class last year as a junior. Burwell says, “I loved interacting with the peer-assist students and getting to help them learn new skills and qualities. The kids seemed to get really relaxed when they made music, which was really nice to see.” The peer-assist music class also helps people with disabilities become relaxed and not so stressed.

       Peer-assist culinary, gym and music classes offer every person in the class a chance to learn things they have never learned before.