The majority of the BHS student body has been involved in the Buddies Program at one point or another, either as a freshman, an upperclassman, or a transfer student. The Buddies Program is designed to help freshmen and transfer students acclimate to BHS and feel like they are welcome in Panther territory. Upperclassmen volunteers host a several themed buddies lunches throughout the year to help new students with any problems they have. Although the Buddies lunches have proved to be initially effective and helpful, they lose their relevance as the school year progresses. Based on the opinion of both freshmen and upperclassmen buddies, the buddies program is best when it’s short and sweet and should be kept only in the first semester.
Although the program has done its best to embrace often reluctant underclassmen to the BHS community, both freshmen and upperclassmen alike have noticed a trend in the activities they host: as the school year comes to an end, more freshmen find the program unnecessary. In the beginning of the year, when the BHS campus was a foreign zone to the freshmen, the Buddies activities were extremely helpful.
Freshman Ella Cacciato said, “in the beginning of the year, the activities were really helpful. They showed us around when I didn’t know where to go.”
Cacciato said that her Buddy helped her with technical things, like how the block schedule worked and how to work out her stress during finals week.
Junior Buddy Dana Aboukhalil recalled that, “For the first Buddies lunch, all the freshmen were still new to the school and excited about the Buddies program... they all behaved and participated respectfully.”
However, this productive system did not last long. As the freshmen adjusted to their new school, the buddies lunches transformed from helpful bonding opportunities to forced routines.
Freshman Julia Mitchell said, “at the beginning of the year it is nice to have a Buddy, but after that it's kind of just a hassle. We want our lunch to relax and talk to the friends we have made, not spending it with our buddy group.”
The freshmen’s apathy for the lunches has begun to impact the activities as well as frustrate the upperclassmen Buddies. In the second semester, Aboukhalil has noticed this change in her Buddies’ attitudes.
“Recently, they aren't very respectful and don't take us very seriously even though we forfeit our lunches for them. It takes a lot of force to get them to participate in any of the activities because it's obvious they don't want to be there,” Aboukhalil said.
Matilda Horace, the buddies commissioner, agrees that the effectiveness of the buddies program wanes as the school year progresses, particularly in the second semester.
“The first semester was perfect because the freshmen love to receive the help, but after that, they get exasperated and never want to do the activities we plan for them,” Horace said.
Although the Buddies program facilitates the freshmen’s transition to high school, the lunches become less of a guide and more of a dull procedure. Based on the overall indifference from the freshmen and the exasperation from their buddies in the second semester, the Buddies program would be most effective if it were kept in the first semester.