Freshmen mentor middle school students to ease transition process

To ease the transition of new middle school students, ninth grade students have begun taking part in a school run big brother and sister program with the seventh grade. The program seeks to achieve many goals, including making new students feel more comfortable and not feel intimidated by older grades.

Currently the program is in the pilot stage, meaning that it is limited to a smaller group of students to answer many questions concerning the program, said Rabbi Emily Feigenson. The small pilot group consists of about 35 ninth graders, seven of which are leaders of the program. Feigenson and eighth grade dean Paul Mastin are the two faculty members supervising the new group.

The fundamental principles for the program were taken from ninth grade student applications to participate in the program. The program is primarily student-run and many of them will be a huge part in helping to make the decisions regarding the format and logistics involved with such a program.

The ninth graders all had very positive reactions to the project, some wishing that the program had been around when they were in seventh grade, said Mastin. “What made me want to become a big sister was the fact that I knew I could help make Harvard-Westlake a better community as a whole,” Bella Hicks ’12 said.

Feigenson stressed that although many of the goals are geared towards the seventh graders, the program is also for the older siblings involved.