Big Brothers Program Prepares 6th Grade Boys for the Future


Kendall Hermanson

For years the Big Sisters program has been a crucial part of the 6th grade and 8th grade girls’ experience. However, no male equivalent of the program has existed until now. This spring, the Big Brothers program was finally put into action after months of planning. 6th graders and 8th graders are clearly excited to have this connection. 

The planning for this program began in the fall of 2020, with Patrick Egan as the new 8th grade boys’ Grade Chair, and meetings between the two grade levels began early in the second semester. During a typical meeting, they normally don’t follow a set schedule; the 8th grade boys are free to foster connection with the younger boys as they see fit. 8th grade Big Brother Ethan Mattingly says that he hopes to help the 6th grade boys realize that they can change the world in the future. “[I hope] that I can help kids see the problems in American and world society,” Mattingly says. “And how we should work to fix it.” 

Unlike the Big Sisters program, where each 6th grader is assigned to an individual 8th grader, the Big Brothers each go to one 6th grade homeroom, with most homerooms having two Big Brothers. Every other Friday morning, the Big Brothers go to meet with their 6th grade homerooms, hang out with them, teach them, and mentor them. All of these pieces are a vital part of the new initiative. 

Gary Brown, 6th grade boys Grade Chair, is also a leader of the program. One of his main goals is to have the 6th grade boys know someone once they are in the Upper School. “My dream would be when, when these sixth graders are in ninth grade, they would see juniors like walking across campus or the quad or Malone. And they would like just if they just passed and said hi to each other,” Brown says. “I know that sounds like a small thing, but I would feel like we’ve really done a lot.” Avi Agrawal, another 8th grade Big Brother, agrees with Brown. “I think what we’ve been doing in the 6th grade homerooms is really cool,” Agrawal says. “We are making connections with them so that they could have a familiar face or two in the Upper School.”

Many of the 8th grade students signed up to help 6th graders through the issues that they themselves went through at that age. “I thought [Big Brothers] would be [interesting] so that I could help them through issues that I had,” Agrawal says. As a fellow Big Brother, Mattingly agrees. “I really wanted to get involved with the 6th graders because I know how hard it can be.”

While the program has only been around for several months, it’s clear that the Big Brothers are making a huge difference!