[Editorial] Bridging the Divide Between Under and Upperclassmen
by The Milton Measure on Friday, January 13th, 2017
If you’re an upperclassman, how many underclassmen friends do you have? If you’re an underclassman, how many upperclassmen friends? Our guess is probably not many, and those friends you do have, you likely met via athletics, a club, or your dorm.
The divide between the upper and underclassmen at Milton is undeniable. If a student isn’t a boarder or an athlete, he has barely any exposure to peers in other grades. Even if a student is a boarder or athlete, he probably becomes acquainted with only a narrow demographic from those other grades. As a board, we find this rift between upperclassmen and underclassmen detracts from Milton’s ultimate mission of promoting diversity –– because, as we all know, diversity comes in many forms, one of which is age.
One might argue that the split is largely inevitable, especially given the allocating of space in the Student Center. Our board acknowledges this unfortunate truth. However, there are concrete steps our community can take to close the gap between classes. For instance, we believe that a “social awareness”-type class comprised of a random mix of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors would provide ample space for upperclassmen and underclassmen to build relationships with one another. This class would allow groups of students to express their ideas about current events and social issues while simultaneously connecting students with peers they would otherwise never meet.
Another avenue the school could take in order to connect upperclassmen and underclassmen would be creating more opportunities for seniors to teach certain seminars to underclassmen. For instance, one member of our board taught a freshmen and sophomore history class and found that he immediately knew the names of at least ten underclassmen, some of which he had never seen before.
Last year, the administration did try to implement a Senior-Freshmen Fellows Program, in which seniors would meet with underclassmen advisories. This approach, however, lasted for only a few short months and subsequently dissolved. So, some might say forming artificial connections between students controlled by the administration is impossible. Yet, as a board, we believe that a few smaller approaches to this issue, such as the two we outlined above, could be more impactful than an attempt at one major solution.
We as a board would like to reach out to the administration asking for a consideration of our solutions. Milton strives to foster every kind of diversity, but we fall short of that goal when social diversity does not extend beyond one grade or the grade immediately above or below it. The upperclassmen and underclassmen divide needs to be discussed further and measures need to be instituted as a means to benefit our entire community.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=8602