By Taylor Conley
On a cool Friday morning in September, sixth, eleventh, and twelfth graders bustle around Tempe Prep’s Student Union with light chatter and conversation. Normally, students new and old would not become friends. Yet, with the National Honor Society’s 6th grade buddy program at Tempe Prep, events like these are planned just for that to happen. They drink orange juice and eat donuts while filling out sheets about their buddy’s personality. Throughout the year, upperclassmen send letters to their buddies that include fun questions, advice for academics, and things going on in their lives, such as their experiences applying to college.
Having an upperclassman friend can really improve a sixth grader’s school experience. In the chaotic year that sixth grade is, new students may enjoy the comfort and companionship that comes with having a friend in an older grade. “It helps [sixth graders] adapt to the school. It lets me feel comfortable because I know someone who’s been at this school longer. It’s someone I can talk to,” said 6th grader Lillian Hess.
Most Tempe Prep students can recall the buddies they had in sixth grade and how it felt to have an older student guide them. According to Anna Melis, a junior in the NHS, “I have always wanted a buddy, I wanted one since sixth grade.”
While upperclassmen do receive service hours for their time, helping out younger students is the most rewarding thing. Buddies can also benefit the upperclassmen. “You get to meet sixth graders that you wouldn’t generally meet otherwise,” said Anna.
Eleventh and twelfth graders enjoy getting to know new students. They also respect their important positions as mentors. Being in charge of how a new student views the life of juniors and seniors is a big responsibility to take on.
Tempe Prep’s National Honor Society’s work is much appreciated on campus. We hope to see many more fun activities planned for the future!
Article by Taylor Conley, a middle school student staff writer and editor for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.