Project Wayfinder Kicks Off at RMHS


Lauren Koulouris ('22), Orbit Contributor

Guidance Counselors have recently started Project Wayfinder for this year’s freshmen and sophomores during flex block every Tuesday and Thursday.

Project Wayfinder was created at the Stanford Institute of Design to address the mental health crisis that adolescents face today. It was started to help the youth discover a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Wayfinder makes it their mission to have self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making to be the central focus of adolescent education.

Guidance counselor Ms. Keaney further explained what Wayfinder is about. “So project Wayfinder is a curriculum that we have invested some money into for the freshman and sophomores, and this is really because I think in the past few years we have found that we get to junior year and it’s hard for juniors to plan for college and plan for majors when they feel like they haven’t been sort of thinking about those things all along. So in order to make our developmental guidance curriculum a little more substantial we’re now trying to meet with them about eight to nine times each… and what were planning to do is help them figure out, first and foremost, how they belong in this building, how they belong in life–and next year–what their purpose might be.”

A great deal of research has been conducted over the years at the Stanford Institute to prove that the main cause of today’s stress in young adults does not only originate from having too much to do, but because of the overwhelming feeling with not knowing why they are doing it. Students today struggle more with meaninglessness than they do with stress, according to the Stanford Institute.

Due to this being the first year RMHS will be using Project Wayfinder, the guidance department has established their own plan for implementing Wayfinder’s curriculum during flex block and moving forward for years to come.

“Yes, so for the freshman this is really so new for them. All we’ve done so far is we’ve given them a pre-survey, so asking them things like, ‘Do you feel like you’ve been a good listener to your peer group?’, ‘Do you feel like your fitting into school okay?’, you know sort of just like getting a baseline on where they are. And then for the next seven weeks we’re hoping to do some exercises with them to get them feeling a little bit more invested and thinking about friendship groups and how they connect to the building, interests and things like that. After the curriculum, right around Christmas vacation we’re gonna give them a post test to see if they feel that anything has changed,” Ms. Keaney added, along with expressing her hopes to use this program for the next upcoming freshman and sophomores. “We hope for next year’s sophomores to really be figuring out using the word “purpose” and figuring out what that’s going to mean for them as far as how that could lead to a career and a path forward.”

If the program goes according to plan, Wayfinder will help prepare this year’s freshmen and sophomores for life after high school and college, in order to help with the student’s fears and anxieties about the future that awaits them.