Imagine you’re 8-years-old arriving at a brand new school with hundreds of other boys and girls you’ve never met before. You’re miles from home and everything is new.
How would that make you feel? Maybe a little nervous? A little lost?
To make sure new students arriving at St. Joseph’s Indian School start the year off right, there’s the Co-Pilot Program. It is designed to assist incoming students in their transition to St. Joseph’s by pairing them with experienced students in an attempt to detour anxieties that come with starting at a new school.
“New students don’t feel so alone when they know there’s at least one person they can lean on right away,” said Colton, who organizes the Co-Pilot Program.
The program was started at St. Joseph’s five years ago. Usually, close to 100 students in grades 1st-8th take part in the program every year. Returning students will give the new students a school tour and follow up with them multiple times throughout the week and at co-pilot meetings. The meetings run for five weeks during the first three quarters of the school year.
Meetings consist of a lesson and activity from Colton. Topics include things like homesickness, bullying, the importance of families and friends, and more! Bigger events take place sporadically throughout the year as well, such as co-pilot movie nights.
The program has seen positive results.
“You can see those quiet kids open up and share with a kid before they’ll feel comfortable sharing with an adult,” said Colton. “This program gives them that instant connection to help them settle in.”
And those connections appear to last. Colton said many friendships have been forged through the program.
“New students enjoy it so much, that they want to become co-pilots for other new students later on,” said Colton. “Many co-pilot pairs remain friends for years to come and seek each other out even when the year is over. Connections like that and knowing someone has their back is so important.”
Pilamaya – thank you – for supporting programs like this at St. Joseph’s Indian School!