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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

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April 12, 2024

Marlborough makes changes to the buddy system

Emma+%E2%80%9825%2C+Kira+%E2%80%9828%2C+Channing+%E2%80%9825%2C+Mia+Cuomo+%E2%80%9825+and+Caroline+%E2%80%9825+decorate+a+pumpkin+for+the+buddy+event.
Dinah ’25
Emma ‘25, Kira ‘28, Channing ‘25, Mia Cuomo ‘25 and Caroline ‘25 decorate a pumpkin for the buddy event.

Starting this school year, Marlborough will no longer hold its traditional 7th and 12th grade buddy program. In the past, each 7th grader was matched with a senior buddy. The 7th and 12th grade classes would gather together twice a year to participate in friendly competitions and bonding activities. Instead, the school has expanded the program to include all grades in the form of buddy groups. 

This year, each Upper School class has been paired with a Middle School class. In the new system, seniors are no longer matched with 7th graders. Now, the new buddy group pairings are seniors with 9th graders, juniors with 8th graders and sophomores with 7th graders. The move from pairing seniors with 7th graders has elicited a number of responses from the student body and has raised some concerns within the Senior Class.

“For 7th graders, the system is really grounding and inspiring because you see where you’re going to end up,” Ela ‘24 said. “For 12th graders, it’s incredibly nostalgic because you know what it was like to be in their position and you too once had a senior buddy. I think the new system is definitely valuable, but I think there was a special connection for the 7th-12th program and I wish it could have been preserved.”

According to Dean of Student Life Kendall Beeman, the administration had a number of specific reasons for reimagining the buddy program. One of which was that they hoped the new buddy system would create a larger sense of community between the Upper and Middle Schools. While buddy pairs only met twice in the old program, the new system allows buddy groups to meet three to four times a year. Furthermore, students will remain in the same buddy groups until they finish 9th and 12th grade, respectively. 

“We want to help younger students get to know older students and see them as role models,” Beeman said. “We also want to help Upper School students see themselves as role models and be leaders for the younger students.”

Additionally, Beeman noted that the previous buddy system posed challenges in fostering connections between younger and older students. Beeman hopes that the new seven- to eight-person buddy groups will allow for stronger bonds between middle and upper schoolers.  

“Before [the new buddy groups were established], it was 1-to-1, so you also run the risk of not getting along or having a buddy that doesn’t care or show up,” Beeman said.

So far, the buddy groups have met twice: once in September to get to know each other and create buddy group crests, and again in October to decorate pumpkins. Next semester, the administration hopes that Upper School councils will help to plan and facilitate buddy group activities along with the deans. To culminate the school year, all students will participate in a buddy group lunch. 

Although the new buddy program changed one of Marlborough’s beloved traditions, some students have enjoyed the buddy groups thus far and are looking forward to spending more time with their buddies. 

“My favorite part is that my grade’s connection with our buddies can grow throughout Upper School,” Madeline ‘26 said. “Even though we’ve had only two meetings, I already feel like I’m friends with my buddies, and I can’t wait for the years to come.”

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Abigail '24, Co-Editor in Chief
Dinah ’25, Photo Editor
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