North East Carolina Prep School is planning to implement a new program that will improve drop-out rates before their first senior class even graduates.

The new program, called Peer Group Connection, will pair incoming high school freshman with junior and senior mentors next year in an attempt to make the transition to high school less stressful for ninth-grade students. When the program is implemented in the fall, North East Carolina Prep will be the only school in Edgecombe County to offer a Peer Group Connection program.

Dr. Pattie Sander-Smith, the principal of the high school at North East Carolina Prep, said the program will provide upperclassmen with the opportunity to develop leadership skills, teamwork and problem-solving ability even as they help freshmen learn to resolve stress and stand up to peer pressure.

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