AGS Students Buddy Up

Tessa Lehman, Copy Editor

The new AGS buddy system pairs underclassmen with upperclassmen who can share knowledge about school and other AGS experiences.

  “Our juniors and seniors have had experiences with travel, collaborative work, and project-based learning, and most have developed strategies for succeeding in high school and navigating the expectations of the International Studies Schools’ Network graduate profile,” AGS teacher Stacy Webster said. “The hope is that our older students will help our younger students feel welcome on this large campus, as they provide advice and guidance.”

The Student Leadership Committee, a group of AGS teachers, added this  leadership opportunity for older students to be role models for younger students.

“Sharing stories and strategies helps our junior and senior students reflect on their learning and communicate ideas,” Webster said. “Our younger students benefit from the support of a peer who has walked in their shoes. We hope that some buddies will eat lunch together, on campus, of course, and that students will exchange notes of encouragement and advice as they approach big events like exams, Showcase Nights, learning expeditions, etc.”

Since the beginning of the year, the AGS buddies have met up once for a “Meet and Greet” during FIT, where students had the opportunity to ask their buddy questions.

“My buddy and I have met for the AGS lunch meeting and we have gotten breakfast,” sophomore Gracie Jackson said.My buddy is really nice. She is welcoming and honest and willing to help me or answer any questions I might have.”

The purpose of the AGS buddy system is to connect students to other students and is designed to help them find their niche and a sense of belonging in school.

“One of the advantages of being in a small learning community like an academy is that students build strong relationships with peers, perhaps because they share multiple classes and experiences with those same friends,” Webster said. “The students know that the teachers meet to create connected learning units and to problem-solve for struggling students, so we have often heard that it feels like a family.  We noticed, though, that students did not really know peers in the grades ahead of or behind them, so we wanted to increase the size of our family.”

Seniors are paired with sophomores and juniors are paired with freshmen in order to link different grade levels with each other and create interconnectivity.

“I have learned things about the Costa Rica trip and about good time management of homework,” Jackson said. “I want to learn different techniques they used for studying and managing their homework, especially for junior year.”

The AGS buddy system allows the upperclassmen to guide and mentor the underclassmen by using their own experiences as an example.

“Well, if I could do over again, I would say work on your college apps early, start visiting colleges when you’re a sophomore. Just work really hard, because it will pay off by senior year,” senior Jaclyn Edison said.