What is Stars? 

Stars is a proven mentoring programme, which pairs all incoming Year 9s with senior students trained to be amazing peer mentors!

Stars offers proactive measures to support enhanced resilience, mental health and wellbeing of students. Crucially, as Dr Rachel Inder put it, Stars “builds trusting relationships that enables the students to reach out to each other in times of need”.

Stars was first introduced to Marlborough in 2020, as a pilot for the region, at Marlborough Girls’ College. Following a tremendously successful year in 2020, Marlborough Girls’ College have locked in Stars for five years! We are busily working with Marlborough Boys’ College to support their interest in introducing Stars too – watch this space!

What do you do in Stars?

The integrated Stars programme is made up of three main components:  

  1. Adventure Camp: To kickstart the programme, professional outdoor facilitators take all our Stars students through a series of outdoor and indoor activities to develop positive relationships, resilience, and teamwork. 
  2. Peer Mentoring: Year 12 and 13 students are trained to be Stars Peer Mentors (to their junior mentees, the Year 9s) and together they follow a structured programme that addresses key life skills like goal setting, time management, good communication skills and building positive relationships.
  3. Community Project: Students plan, organise and spend time giving something back to their community – which also reinforces a sense of purpose and connection for the students. In 2020 this took the form of #ProjectKindness.

What are the benefits?

Stars is already offered in various other regions of New Zealand and has been proven to be highly effective. Research conducted in partnership with the University of Auckland showed the Stars programme: develops confidence, teambuilding and friendship; teaches students about their community; and improves relationships between students and teachers.

  • Stars supports the Year 9s as they undergo the tricky transition to college and adolescence.
  • Stars also benefits the Year 12 and 13s by providing meaningful leadership opportunities and experience, as well as delivering the mental health benefits that come from ‘volunteering’.
  • And, for both junior and senior students, Stars supports, motivates and provides positive reinforcement and enriches the school culture.

But don’t just take our word for it…

What are people saying about Stars in Marlborough?

What the community says:

  • “We have been looking at various ways we can enhance the health and wellbeing of Marlborough students. The Stars programme is exactly the solution we have been looking for, as it builds trusting relationships that enables the students to reach out to each other in times of need”.
    (Dr Rachel Inder, GP)

What the school says

  • “Stars provides an effective platform to help our Year 9 students successfully navigate the transition to college and develop self-confidence and resilience. It also develops powerful mentor and leadership skills for more of our senior students, including those who may not have put themselves forward for leadership opportunities in the past. It is some of the best leadership training we have seen and is quite remarkable.
    We can also report a 98% drop in suspensions and standdowns in 2020. Stars is a major contributor to this.”
    (MJ Lynch, Principal, Marlborough Girls’ College)

What the Year 9s in Stars say

  • “I learned I am braver and stronger than I thought”
  • “I learnt that I can trust my class and Stars mentors”
  • “I learnt that some of the girls in my class are more like me than I thought. That makes me feel closer to them and more comfortable about myself” 
  • “I learned that I can be stronger and show my real self instead of pretending to be someone else”
  • “I realised I am capable of so much more”
  • “I’ve felt less stressed and I feel less pressured in life”
  • “It was the best camp I have ever been on!”

What the Stars Peer Mentors say

  • “If you want to learn a powerful lesson about yourself, become a Stars peer mentor!”
  • “Success is important. But bigger than success is having an impact…knowing you helped people develop and made the world a better place”
  • “The highlight for me was the Stars Camp at Outward Bound. I am incredibly grateful for that opportunity because it allowed us to form deeper connections with the Year 9s and really work alongside them. That was when the Year 9s started to see us as mentors and friends, instead of some bunch of scary seniors who look down on newcomers”
  • “Stars has taught me to trust in my own ability as a leader and to feel equipped to take on new leadership roles within the school community and beyond”
Stars Marlborough Graduation 2020
Stars Marlborough Graduation 2020 – photo credit: Meg Cuddon Corlet (Marlborough Girls’ College)