Every September, The Hewitt School gathers together to welcome new students eager to get started and those who are thrilled to be back for another great year. Whether student, faculty, or staff, all new members of our community are paired with a buddy who offers guidance, support, and friendship as they navigate their first year at a new school. As the youngest members of our community, kindergarteners are welcomed to Hewitt through a unique partnership with the senior class, allowing for a special relationship to grow between the oldest and youngest students at Hewitt.
The year-long relationship begins during the first weeks of school, when each kindergarten student is welcomed by a member of the senior class during a special ceremony that includes parents and teachers. Soon after, twelfth graders start visiting the kindergarten classrooms during choice time to join activities like read alouds, drawing, and block building. As the students connect over everything from common interests to similar backgrounds and shared identity characteristics, teachers begin to pair up kindergarteners and seniors for a year of mentorship, growth, and camaraderie. These thoughtful and purposeful pairings allow the younger girls to see themselves in their buddies and develop truly meaningful connections with the seniors. Throughout the year, the buddies come together for service activities, such as making sandwiches for the Yorkville Common Pantry, community events, including walking together in Hewitt’s lower school Halloween parade, and social gatherings that range from attending joint field trips to enjoying an ice cream social.
By the time the school year comes to a close, each senior has formed a meaningful bond with her kindergarten buddy. It is only fitting, then, that the kindergarten class plays an important role in Hewitt’s commencement ceremony. As each graduating senior walks towards the stage she is accompanied by her kindergarten buddy, and together they share the excitement of taking the next big step in their academic careers. Because of the powerful connection to their buddies, the senior class graduates from Hewitt knowing that they have passed on their own wisdom and experiences to the newest generation of Hewitt girls, and the kindergarteners move into first grade feeling known, appreciated, and empowered to take on the challenges ahead.