Buddy Club: Bringing the Fifth Grade and Upper School Together

Buddies+Victoria+Whitcomb+%2720+and+Rebecca+Harper+%2727

Buddies Victoria Whitcomb ’20 and Rebecca Harper ’27

Danielle Nares '21, On Campus and Arts Co-Editor

Seniors Abbey O’Meara ‘20 and Victoria Whitcomb ‘20 created an SLS Buddy Club last fall. Its main goal is to foster a relationship between fifth graders and Upper Schoolers who have been at SLS longer. They successfully organized a way for buddies to connect despite their different schedules. 

“We’re pairing Upper School students with fifth grade students to mentor them and talk to them, as they are new student[s] here … [The club’s goal] is pretty straightforward: making sure people meet with their fifth grade buddy. They don’t need to come to me to check-in. It’s more on them…And, it’s kind of a great way for Upper School students to meet younger members of the community…I think it is cute to see the friendships made through it,” stated Abbey. 

Upper Schoolers and fifth graders, alike, enjoy the club.

“I like that as an Upper Schooler, I get to know another middle schooler. Not only is she super nice when I walk in the hallways, but she also waves at me; it really makes my day,” said Abby Thomas ‘23.

Cara Sato-Connell ‘27 remarked, “[Buddy Club] is a fun way to have Upper Schoolers and Middle Schoolers interact and get to know each other more. Having a buddy, from a middle schoolers point of view, is like having an older sibling in the Upper School looking out for you.”

Not only do the students have positive feedback of the program, but teachers also have things to say. Fifth Grade teacher Mrs. Juran commented, “I have received very positive feedback from the students in my homeroom.  The fifth grade students love seeing their buddies whenever possible–during homeroom, at games, at lunch, and at other events. Overall, the program promotes community and the St. Luke’s Mission.”

The two senior leaders had different inspirations for starting the club, but shared the common goal to start the club prior to graduation.

“I was thinking a few years ago about doing some kind of club that helped with anti-bullying, and this came out of it. Although it is not focused on that, it has a background motive to prevent that,” explained Abbey. 

Victoria explained that she was motivated by a charming encounter with a fifth grader. The student admitted to being intimidated to talk to her because of upperclassman status, but eventually had the courage to do so. Since Victoria had a similar experience when she was a fifth grader, she wanted to make sure that the younger students would feel more comfortable approaching their older counterparts. Victoria then approached Abbey with the idea.

Accordingly, the girls sent a survey to all Upper Schoolers to see who wanted to participate. A later survey, sent to those who expressed interest, asked questions about interests and free periods. Then, with the help of fifth grade teachers Ms. Olsen and Mrs. Juran, the two thoughtfully determined each pairing. Currently, all students in the fifth grade are paired with at least one upperclassman. 

“It was pretty tricky to get started. Getting Upper School students to participate is a time commitment, for sure,” explained Abbey.

Whether you are in Buddy Club or not, greeting a Middle Schooler in the hallway is a great way to know more students in the community. To those involved in Buddy Club, check for some updates throughout the year. Abbey and Victoria have a lot planned, like a Spring Fest! If you are interested, email the club leaders to see how you can get involved.