This year marks the beginning of the Eagles Buddies Program, which pairs one or two sophomores with a grade 3 student to foster an ongoing relationship that will continue when the Class of 2013 graduates and the lower school students move on to middle school.
During Thursday advisory, sophomores sprawled out across desks, and even the floor, with markers, crayons and colored pens to write introductions to their new young buddies. “I’m very excited to meet you. I remember when I was in third grade. I had a buddy as well. It was lots of fun. I know we’ll have fun as well,” Apricot Tang, Gr. 10, wrote to her third-grade counterpart, Annie Ma.
“My favorite activity is tennis,” Christopher Chang wrote to his buddy, Ekdatha Arramreddy. “Maybe one day you can come watch me play. What activities do you enjoy?”
“The goals for the program are to foster a K-12 sense of community, and to promote responsibility, relationships and communication,” sophomore advisor Carol Zink said. Inspired by Butch Keller’s experiences with a similar buddy program his daughters went through, faculty and advisors from both grade levels – including sophomore class dean Jeff Draper, lower school dean of students Joe Connolly and Zink – have worked together to establish events throughout the year.
Before the official kick-off on Oct. 6, when the sophomores travel to Bucknall to meet face-to-face and play games with their buddies, the students have begun writing letters to each other to introduce themselves, sharing their summer stories and favorite activities. They’re also preparing for a fun-packed year filled with events like watching the homecoming game together, participating in the lower school’s Pajama Day and attending the Spring Spirit Week rally.
Many teachers noted how enthusiastic the sophomores were. “The girls especially got into it, filling their cards with pictures and using different color markers,” history teacher Ally Montana said.
Both students and faculty alike are looking forward to forging friendships.
“I am most looking to watching the students interact during the various activities we have planned for them at each campus,” Connolly said. “I am also looking forward to watching the relationships develop and the positive benefits each student, young and old, will receive.”