While the weeks approaching spring break may mean booking hotels and researching airfare for many, for Ms. Deidra Lovegren and Ms. Jennifer Caprara’s English IV honors classes, these weeks mean something else. Seniors spent their final weeks of quarter three participating in the school’s annual book buddy project.
“I first started book buddies six years ago as a way to keep [seniors] feeling enthusiastic before spring break,” Ms. Lovegren said. “Graduating high school is a big deal so I wanted seniors to have closure and put in perspective where they are in their lives.”
Beginning March 4, Ms. Lovegren’s students randomly matched with first graders to create a biographical storybook. The random pairing gave students a chance to explore new horizons and learn about a part of the school often left uncharted by Upper School students. “I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with kids with whom I would otherwise not spend time with,” senior Daniil Tourashev said.
After conducting a 50-question interview, senior high students took to Google Slides to create a 15-page, digital storybook based on their buddy’s likes and dislikes. Two weeks later, seniors reunited with their buddies in the Educational Environmental Center (EEC) to share their projects and say goodbye.
“To the kids, the seniors are the gods and goddesses coming down from Mount Olympus,” Ms. Lovegren said. “They bond like crazy and become lifelong friends.”
Despite having buddies matched up randomly, the groups always find a way to make the best of the situation.
“I once had this little boy who absolutely hated the senior he paired with,” Ms. Lovegren said. “So the senior made the story about how he was a monster and the little boy had to tame him. When we went back two weeks later, the boy ran up to his buddy saying how much he had missed him.”
Approaching their final days in high school, book buddies gave seniors a chance to reconnect with elementary school memories one last time before they graduate.“Book buddies really give students a chance to look back on the 13-year journey they are about to finish,” Ms. Lovegren said.
Senior Ryan Sherota shows his book buddy to his seat in his English IV Honors classroom. (Photo/Yasmeen Altaji)