BIG SIS, LITTLE SIS: Poly’s Newest Club Focuses on Sisterhood

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BIG SIS, LITTLE SIS: Poly’s Newest Club Focuses on Sisterhood

Founder of Big Sister Little Sister, Junior Bailey Chapin (right), with Freshman Zoe Feuer (left).

Founder of Big Sister Little Sister, Junior Bailey Chapin (right), with Freshman Zoe Feuer (left).

via Margaret Moslander

Founder of Big Sister Little Sister, Junior Bailey Chapin (right), with Freshman Zoe Feuer (left).

via Margaret Moslander

via Margaret Moslander

Founder of Big Sister Little Sister, Junior Bailey Chapin (right), with Freshman Zoe Feuer (left).

Big Sister Little Sister is a program started this year meant to empower Poly girls and help freshmen develop friendships with upperclassmen. In this program, Big Sisters (junior and senior girls) are paired up with Little Sisters (freshmen girls). This program gives freshmen the unique chance to meet an upperclassman with similar interests who they can talk to throughout the year.

In February, a breakfast was held in which upperclassmen were introduced to their freshmen sisters. So far, Big Sister Little Sister has been relatively successful. Many upperclassmen and freshmen have been enjoying the new friendships fostered by the program and looking forward to developing deeper relationships with their sisters.

Upon arriving to the breakfast, each girl was given name tags and a sheet of questions to answer with their big sister or little sister. Breakfast pastries were available for the pairs to eat while they answered questions and chatted. Towards the end of the breakfast, construction paper was handed out to the girls and they were able to write their names. Later the papers were hung up in the student center, to celebrate the sense of the community built as a result of the program.

Junior and Big Sister Claire Henderson said, “My experience was really positive. I met a really cool girl who has similar interests as I do.” Her only criticism of the program was, she said, “I wish I had a little more time to become close with my little sister.”

There was a mixed response from freshmen and many felt that the program was a good idea but not well executed. For example, Freshmen Sophia Cimmino said, “I think that the idea for the program was decent, but the way that it was executed just was not very good.”

She also felt that not everyone was completely interested in the program, saying, “The freshman girls were all essentially forced to be there, and some of the juniors and seniors, too. Though I am also aware that some pairs were very happy. I think that there were a lot of experiences from both ends of the spectrum.”

The founder of Big Sister Little Sister, Junior Bailey Chapin, said her main goal was to “foster a sense of sisterhood at our school by creating sister pairs.” Chapin hoped that these pairs would “help 9th graders navigate their lives at Poly, especially the social challenges of high school.”

Chapin was inspired to begin the program after attending the monthly Women’s Summit, where she found that many upperclassmen wish that they had someone to help them through the difficult social and academic changes of freshmen year.

Additionally, Chapin drew inspiration from her own family dynamic. Her older sister Margot, also attended Poly and guided her the way she hopes the Big Sisters will too.

“I was really lucky to have an older sister in the high school when I was in 9th grade, and I think it’s really important that everyone has a similar role model,” Chapin said.

Chapin has been the program’s driving force, but building Big Sister Little Sister into what is it now was a team effort. Chapin specifically thanked English Teacher Sarah Whalen and History Teacher Margaret Moslander, who in addition to running the Women’s Summit, helped her organize the program. Additionally, Student Government has been very helpful in the organization process and Chapin has “run a lot of ideas by the student life committee.”