Everyone has their own superhero, the person they look up to most to give them advice and pass on their wisdom. Maybe it’s a cartoon character with a cape and a sidekick, or a real human being like a parent or older sibling. These figures all act as mentors, teaching and guiding us into a better version of ourselves. While there are great opportunities for upper school students to act as mentors, or “superheroes” to lower school students, more of these moments could help deepen connections between campuses.
One of the beloved events for seniors and kindergarteners is pumpkin-carving in the fall, an activity that is coming up soon. Lifers, who experienced it as kindergarteners on the Goodrich Campus, will likely be filled with nostalgia as their experience comes full circle as seniors. Other seniors may leave the event wishing they had more time to spend with K-5 students. Another fall event, concurrent with Homecoming just a few weeks ago, takes SAC members and the senior Spartan to visit for the blue and gold day festivities. While they don’t occur frequently, these events are truly special.
The 1.5 miles that divide the campuses can make it difficult to find time for connection throughout the school day, aside from occasional special events. This makes extracurriculars such valuable opportunities for upper school mentorship, something the athletic department does a great job of. The Junior Spartan program allows lower school students to connect with upper school sports teams and come to their games — and the applications to be Junior Spartans this year exceeded games available, clearly showing the value of the program. Sitting on the bench with a close-up view during warm-ups or standing with the players during the national anthem encourages athleticism and school spirit.
But is this enough? Not really. There aren’t that many opportunities for Randolph Campus students to be involved at the Goodrich Campus. Creating more connections between campuses can only be better. Here are a few ideas that would be fun to implement going forward:
Extend the after-school program and offer an upper school application to lead stress-free activities or homework support.
Lower school teachers post a monthly calendar where upper school students can sign up to assist the teachers in their classrooms.
Roll out a Reading Buddies program, where upper school students and lower school students share their favorite books.
Monthly lunch sign-ups would allow students to chat and connect over a meal.
The possibilities are truly endless, and all of these programs could cultivate mentorship and interconnectedness. All of us were once in the shoes of these K-5th graders. We looked up (quite literally) to the “big kids” in high school and saw them as mature and experienced. Older students should advocate for more opportunities to show younger students the ropes, to be like their superheroes. It is our job to step up and take on that role, and in doing so, experience the joy of connection.