The Big Brother, Big Sister Program

By Natalie Hooker

The Big Brother and Big Sister program is not new to Byram Hills, but this fall, a select group of Byram Hills seniors is embarking upon a new season of running this program, which is a wonderful opportunity for them to act as interns at Coman Hill. The Big Brother/Sister program is run by Ms. DeRosa who interviews interested students for the position and gets them prepared for what it is like to be a mentor to young children in a learning environment.

There are twelve big brothers and sisters this year, along with about six classes at Coman Hill that host these mentors. The seniors picked two days out of the week to attend their class at Coman Hill, leaving after seventh period to join their students at the end of the day. These seniors feel honored to be elected as Big Brothers and Sisters, and they are aware of this important responsibility. Seniors interact with the younger students in their academic activities and in social activities, building strong bonds with the children.

Big brothers and sisters will be supervising playtime with students at their activity centers, escorting students to locations in the school if needed, helping organize and file students’ schoolwork for the teacher, decorating the classroom with students’ artwork, setting up materials on tables for students to be ready and prepared to learn, and more. These tasks help the high school students develop organizational and leadership skills while learning a new level of maturity as we are now stepping up to be not only helpers to the teachers, but helpers to entire classes that depend on us academically, socially, and physically.

These selected students were eager to meet the teachers they were paired with, as well as the students they would be assisting. Seniors were gearing up to start the program at the beginning of October and were excited to meet their classes. While attending the program’s initiation meeting, Big Sister Alexa Schlau, said she is “excited about being a role model and a mentor for the children to look up to at Coman Hill.” She said what inspired her to apply for this leadership role was that she “wanted to do this program because it benefits [herself] and the children. [She has] so much to learn from them [and wants] to be a part of their school experience and hopefully have an impact on it!”

Every senior selected feels a responsibility to give back to their community and to their elementary school. Big Sister Abby Quintiere says that she is very much looking forward to it and was inspired to become a Big Sister because “[she] really enjoys working with little kids and may want to do something like this in the future!” This program serves as an amazing hands-on experience for students to take on a mature role in an elementary school while helping others in a fun and interactive environment. The seniors all feel very passionate about serving as dependable mentors to help guide the students in any way they can.