“Seniors have such potential to help these freshman because they have been through this themselves...”
Hailey Thompson grew up in Atlanta, GA and has gone to the same middle school and high school for all 7 years. She saw many girls, including herself, struggle in the very harsh social scene that her school cultivated. The tumultuous social times throughout middle school and early high school was not only emotionally and mentally draining, but affected her academics to an extent. Hailey knew that she could change this environment, even if it was to a small degree. To do this, she created a freshman-senior mentorship program to be implemented at her high school called Senior Sisters. The goal of Senior Sisters is to connect senior girls with freshman girls in order to provide support and care through difficult social times.
Implementation of Project
Hailey and her action team talked to the girls in each grade at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, and asked for a level of interest. Over 80% of girls in each grade signed up, so her action team and she worked hard to pair them based on personality and interests. Once the girls were paired, Hailey watched them spend time together and create long-lasting friendships. They went to dinner together, ate lunch at school together, went shopping together and so much more. It wasn’t all easy though. Some pairs didn’t get along, though Hailey tried to match them the best she could. She even had to switch 2 pairs because the chemistry wasn’t there. Overall, however, pairs seemed to be working out.
“Chemistry, you could call it, is so important in mentorship. If the girls don’t click, there isn’t much to work off of.”
– Hailey Thompson
Hailey also planned group gatherings to create a community among the pairs. She first planned a pool party in September to start the year off, then in December she planned a white elephant gift swap. These events were geared towards creating an additional communal side to the program, separate from the individual mentorship.
Results of Project
Hailey and her action team have experienced the joy of knowing how Senior Sisters affected so many girls. Though not every pair participated the way most did, Hailey still found her program successful. Parents even called and texted some of the freshman’s senior sisters and told them how much of a difference they have made in their children’s lives. One parent even said, “You have no idea the impact you have had on my child’s freshman year. She finally feels like someone values her and is there to listen.” About 120 girls participated in Senior Sisters, both freshmen and seniors, and their involvement has made the program possible.
“If I only changed the life of one person through this program, that would be enough for me.”
– Hailey Thompson
Hailey will graduate from Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in the spring of 2016 and hopes to attend college out west. The Senior Sisters program will continue throughout the 2015-2016 school year, and Hailey is hopeful that one of her junior friends will continue the program when she is a senior next year.