Switching Up Advisories

Upper School advisories mingle with each other to encourage student interaction across forms

Donuts and bagels: great ice-breakers for any uncomfortable situation. This explains how upperclassmen advisories managed to enjoy breakfast with underclassmen on Oct. 25.

This year, the Student Relations Board initiated an advisory exchange program between freshman and junior and sophomore and senior advisories to emphasize group relationships.

Student Relations Board Chair senior Allie Love said that the pairs were made based on location but were random for the most part and the board will organize for them to meet once a quarter for a total of four this year. The freshman/junior and sophomore/senior advisories will meet on the same set day.

Last year, the Student Relations Board created a similar program where senior and freshman advisories were paired. They met for a total of three advisory periods that year. According to Love, the program was so successful that the board decided to change it up and make it freshman/junior and sophomore/senior.

“I was excited [about the new program]  because we did something like it last year that was fun and we got to eat food so I looked forward to it,” sophomore Meg O’Brien, a member of the Kramer advisory, said

Love said that in order to avoid taking away the Big Sis/Lil Sis program between freshmen and seniors, the board created a separate program in which they paired different advisories.

Caroline McGeoch, the sophomore representative of the Student Relations Board, said that “cancelling Big Sis/Lil Sis was never an option since it is such a tradition at Hockaday, so we definitely wanted to keep it but at the same time we definitely wanted to make improvements so that [the upper and underclassmen] could feel more connected.”

However, these connections may take some time to form.

Senior Dalton Youngblood, a member of the Walder advisory, described her experience with underclassmen. “We literally just played games, so I did not get to know any of them any better but I definitely had fun,” Youngblood said. Her advisory and the Skerritt advisory enjoyed playing “Catch Phrase” and “Heads Up!” together. Youngblood recommended these types of games for other advisories as well.

“I heard of some advisories who didn’t know what to do, and didn’t talk very much, but I think that was just a first time kind of deal. We are going to have a lot more throughout the year so they should get to know each other better” Love said. O’Brien additionally stated that if her advisory had an activity or was assigned something to do, the meeting could have been better.

Because this is the project’s first year, the board is open to changes and ideas. Love said the board has considered incorporating community service and competitions into the program.

The program allows students to expand their friendships outside of sports or other extracurriculars and gives them the opportunity to meet with people they wouldn’t normally see.

“We hope it will build relationships,” Love said. “Maybe even if it doesn’t at first, you’ll still recognize that senior, that junior, that  freshman or sophomore and say hi to them in the hallway, and it will give you the opportunity to make a connection with someone.”

– Manisha Ratakonda