Big and Little Siblings Meet Up and Team Up


Hallie Williams

Buddies at a pool party on their way to TroMo.

Hallie Williams, Onlie and Layout Editor

Every summer before the school year starts, seventh graders receive a letter in the mail with a senior’s name, and they eagerly wait for a call. One of many traditions of Burroughs is the Big Sibling/Little Sibling Program that started at Burroughs more than 85 years ago, according to Communications Director Ellen Bremner.

The goal is “to partner seventh graders with seniors for the purpose of giving those seventh graders access to an older student in the school who may serve both as a mentor and friend to the 7th grader,” says Julie Harris, Seventh and Eighth Grade Principal.

Each year, a committee of rising seniors pairs each seventh grader with a senior classmate senior who shares common interests or personalities. The committee also “assists with organizing and helping out at the Big Sibling/Little Sibling picnic where [seventh graders] are given the opportunity to meet classmates and seniors,” says Maddy Duncan ‘18, a committee member.

Hallie Williams
Seniors ans seventh graders hang out during book sale.

Duncan says the committee and program hope to “make the experience [for seventh graders] of starting at a completely new place, more comfortable and less intimidating.”

This year, many seniors have already reached out to their little buddies and attended swim parties, lunches, bowling parties, and other gatherings. “I had a fun time at lunch with my buddy and it got me really excited for school,” says Elizabeth Clarke ‘23.

Gatherings like the lunch Clarke attended not only gives seventh graders a chance to meet an older student, but they are also a great way for seventh graders to bond with peers their own age. In particular, this year’s seniors have tried to be more inclusive than ever before; three all-class events have been planned through their class group chat. The seniors and their seventh grade buddies have attended a crepe get-together, played laser tag, swum and eaten custard, and even enjoyed one-on-one lunches. All students, old and young, have a great time getting to know new Bombers.

Seniors and their buddies bowl.

This program helps in the opening days of seventh grade but often can continue past those first few anxiety-inducing weeks. Isabella Koster ‘20 says, “My seventh grade year buddy and I still text all the time–she loved baking and would bring me cookies and things after winter and spring break.”

However, when your big sibling becomes famous, staying in touch can be a bit of a challenge, jokes Adam Banga ‘18, who was paired up with NFL All-Pro runningback Ezekiel Elliott ‘13.

While the program was created to help seventh graders meet other students at Burroughs, it also brings the Burroughs experience full circle for the seniors. The Class of 2018 started off on the receiving end of the program and now are giving back. Ms. Harris believes it is very “beneficial to our seniors [because they are] serving as a mentor to a younger student [which] provides a type of leadership opportunity.”