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Melissa High School PALS are Difference Makers

Wendy Clemmons and Mackenzie Mackenzie Vowell-Zundel


Feb 2020
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Students in the Peer Assisted Leadership (PALS) program at Melissa High School are making a difference through their influence and service to the schools and community of Melissa.

PALS is made up of 46 students at Melissa High School, led by instructor Ryan Hamilton. The PALS program aims to help high school students tap into their potential to make a positive impact in their own lives, in the lives of younger kids at school, and throughout the community.

During the first eight weeks of the program, the students – themselves referred to as PALS – are trained on how to mentor younger kids, leave their comfort zone, build relationships and trust, exercise confidentiality, and throw away their “cool” card.

The PALS are asked to participate in 10 hours of community service each nine weeks of school; this can take place in the community, during school, or by attending a school event. As a group this year, the PALS have helped run concessions at sporting events and facilitate community events, including Dinosaurs Live, Trunk or Treat, and the Melissa Booster Club’s Daddy Daughter Dance.

Perhaps the most impactful activity is when the PALS visit Harry McKillop Elementary and North Creek Elementary each week, where they mentor elementary-aged students.

Wendy Clemmons is a junior in PALS and was recently named the PAL of the Week. Her partner at North Creek Elementary is fourth grade student, Mackenzie Vowell-Zundel. Both students are pictured together above.

“We get to hang out with them and talk to them about their day and their week,” said Wendy. “We talk about her classes, what she’s been doing, and we just get to know each other.”

Mackenzie added, “I like it – I think it’s fun. My favorite part is getting to talk to her and getting to know her better.”

This is the first year that Melissa High School has offered PALS, and the program continues to garner interest. Students who are interested in joining PALS can contact Ryan Hamilton at school or by email at

For updates from the Melissa High School PALS program, follow @melissahspals on Twitter and @melissahspals on Instagram.

Media Contact:
Maddie Coe, Director of Communications

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