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Buddy Evening .

 
26th February 2009
 

It’s not every day that students from grades three years apart in age get to spend the evening together. But that is exactly what the Grade 8 and grade 11 students did on Wednesday 24th February. The occasion was a pizza evening to celebrate the mid way point of the Buddy system that was introduced this scholastic year. A total of 77 students evenly split between the two grades enjoyed an evening of pizza and soft drinks as well as the company of each other in the relaxed (and rather noisy) Melita pizzeria in Balzan. It was an ideal opportunity for the students to mingle freely with each other, as well as further cement the friendships they have formed.

The Buddy System is a scheme whereby students from Grade Eight are “paired up” with students from Grade Eleven with the aim of helping them integrate as easily as possible in their first year of senior school. It’s a system of mentoring which was first introduced in the United States. It has helped reduce bullying, foster leadership skills in the older students, and bridge the age gap which is usually prevalent in the playground. All the grade 8 students were allocated a buddy before the scholastic year started. Grade 11 students were trained in basic listening skills and conflict management skills. They then applied for the post of buddy and were chosen. So far they have met their buddies at least 3 times. Wednesday’s event was over and above the regular meetings they have with each other at school.

Tina Scicluna, a Grade Eleven student remarked on the system, stating that “the satisfaction of having helped someone is irreplaceable. It must be tough for Grade Eight students coming to senior sector so this lessens their anxiety”. The sentiment was echoed by Lara Saliba, also in Grade Eleven. “It’s good to know that someone can count on me. I love giving advice. I know what it’s like for someone to be there for me, so I can really appreciate their position.”

Mr. Ian, the school counsellor, who organized the event and is responsible for the scheme commented on the uniqueness of the occasion. “I think this is a milestone in bridging the gap between students of different ages who normally would never dream of spending an evening together. It will definitely leave a positive impact on the students of both grades. That apart, the food was great too!”

 

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