G2-G12 Buddy Program - Connecting Across the Decade Divide

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G2-G12 Buddy Program - Connecting Across the Decade Divide

Seated together, friends Khai and Harrison collaborate on a “What Kind of Learner” exercise. But Khai and Harrison are not classmates. They are “buddies,” partnered through the grade 2 - grade 12 buddy program. 

At the beginning of every school year, high school seniors are paired up with second graders as a part of one of the buddy programs offered at SSIS. 

The goals of the buddy programs are, in part, to strengthen the SSIS community. High School Vice Principal, Dr. Chute adds, “The program also allows the grade 12 students to develop their empathetic leadership skills, while the younger students learn from the role models they look up to.” 

A Mentor, Role Model, and Friend

Despite the ten year gap, buddies find that they connect through similar interests - from playing charades together to reading books. During the time they spend together, students learn from each other, enjoying various activities. 

Using a paper bucket, Kevin, tells buddy Mimi, what makes him happy and sad.

“My students have someone they can talk to, play with, learn from,” says second-grade teacher, Brianna Spencer, who sees a clear benefit in her students having a senior buddy and mentor. 

Mr. Burger, another second-grade teacher, reflects on how the gap represents exactly ten years. His students are just learning to count by tens and can more easily look ahead to when, in just "one more block of ten," they’re going to be the ‘adult’ that is about to graduate.

And seniors, many of whom had little to no experience with young children, are becoming more connected to their second-grade schoolmates. “Before, many of my friends told me that they didn’t get along well with little kids. But as we get to know our buddies better we have fun exchanging stories about our time with them,” says Yen, a senior.

Yen takes a silly selfie with her second-grade buddy, Hsiu Yi 

“My buddy tried so hard to write a perfect letter and decorate it with stars, hearts, and princesses. It was so fun hearing her read it and to hear her explain what she wrote,” Yen continues. 

Next summer, when the buddy program ends, our second-graders will take farewell of their buddies from another decade. And our seniors will truly have had a chance to reflect on how much they’ve grown and progressed as students in the past ten years!

This story was written in collaboration between High School seniors, Yenny, and Susan -  themselves buddies to grade two students! Thank you, Yenny and Susan!

Author: Tanya Olander
Communications Officer


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