On Friday, August 26th, several classes were missing half of their students. Teachers had to readjust their agendas for the day to compensate for the absences and students rejoiced at the laidback schedules for the day. For the rest of the students on campus, the first Buddies Day of the year was in full swing, kicking off the school year with high energy activities and giving a formal welcome to new freshmen and returning buddies.
Organized by the leadership class, namely Julia Servulo and Tori Rickman of the Buddies Commission, and held together by numerous upperclassmen and staff volunteers like teacher Traci Kreppel, Buddies Day was a coordinated effort consisting of icebreaker bonding games, question and answer panels, and multiple activities with the annual speaker, Keith Hawkins.
Senior Gracie Kober said that in addition to the subtle changes in Buddies days from year to year, “we also do a lot of similar activities that have been successful in the past to helping the freshmen get familiar with the school.” These activities are meant to connect each grade through the collective experience of Buddies Day and freshman anxieties.
“As a senior...not only do I know more about the school, but I have also had more struggles and more successes… going through the entire process that I feel confident in guiding the freshmen,” Kober said, remembering past Buddies Days.
Kreppel, who helped pass out t-shirts, says her favorite part of the day was “seeing all the smiles and talking with everyone,” but acknowledged that there were some hiccups in slide presentations and that not every freshman was enthusiastic.
Senior lead buddy Aastha Adhikari also says she enjoyed aiding the effort to make Burlingame High a second home to the freshman and is proud of her fellow upperclassmen for making the plans come to fruition.
Although she admits “there were some obstacles, such as some ninth graders not attending the activities and giving attitude to their buddies, buddies like Adhikari aren’t shocked about negative responses from underclassmen.
“We understand [freshmen] because ...we all were once like that, and as the years went by, we all matured and recognized the efforts our buddies had put in for us.”
“It was fun,” freshman Alexa Dominik said. Of the group activities, Dominik states, “We got to know a lot of people we don’t know; we played Kahoot; we talked about ourselves in little groups, and we listened to speeches,” making for an “interesting” day with the upperclassmen.
She can vouch for the obstacles mentioned by Adhikari, but also Dominik says that meeting new people along with a friendly buddy added onto her “comfortable” experience beginning freshman year.
Even though adjusting to the environment of the school is harder for some than others, BHS buddies help students branch out of their comfort zones and channel the confidence and determination encouraged by Hawkins’ powerful speeches and the bonds created by buddies.
A memorable experience for freshmen and upperclassmen alike, this year’s first Buddies Day was a success regarding organization and rallying newcomers together.
“We are a school that looks out for each other and the freshman need to know that they are never alone in anything they do,” Kober said.
“Even if it seems scary and big now, you will find your way with the help of teachers and friends who are always there for you.”
The next welcoming effort begins at the first Buddies lunch, a Tie-Dye Party, which takes place on September 30th on the front lawn.