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The “Buddy System” Graduates

 
 

The first year “graduates” of the Buddy system which was introduced last year, this morning received a certificate of participation from Mr. Ian Refalo the School Counsellor, and Ms Ruth Vella, PSD teacher, who helped coordinate the project.

The students, a healthy number of 61, were the first group of students who were buddies.

The `Buddy System` was introduced in the Senior Sector last scholastic year by the School Counsellor Ian Refalo, whereby students from Grade 11 (Form Four) are “ paired up” with students from Grade 8 (Form One) with the aim of helping them integrate as easily as possible in their first year of Senior School. The Grade 11 students had previously been given training when still in Grade 10 on leadership skills, listening techniques and conflict resolution during their PSD classes.

“When we started the scheme I was unsure as to how many students would volunteer for this. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the great majority of the grade wanted to be buddies. It proves once again that when you give students and teenagers the initiative to work for others, they do so willingly and without reservation. Thanks to them the Buddy System has proven to be a strong feature of our extended service to our new students, something which we intend to keep and enhance,” commented Mr. Ian Refalo, the School Counsellor who was responsible for launching the program.

The aim of this exercise is twofold. Apart from acting as student reference points for the new Grade 8 students, the system has given the Grade 11 students first hand exposure and experience of relating and working with another student. This responsibility, albeit supervised constantly by the PSD team, has helped develop their interpersonal skills even further. The Buddy System has helped reduce bullying, and ease the transition for the students who would have left the Junior Sector and joined the Senior one.

The students met up regularly and were also treated to a Pizza Night at the Melita Gardens in Balzan which was an ideal opportunity for the students to mingle freely with each other, as well as further cement the friendships they had formed.

 

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