From leading team bonding activities on the football field during Direction Days to conducting homeroom seminars on how to study for high school exams, the senior advisors of the Class of ’22 have spent countless hours serving their younger SLUH brethren in the freshman class for the past six months. However, as the fall leaves’ flamboyant orange colors fade, the senior advisors prepare to retire their classic orange shirts to their closets. After guiding the freshmen through the many ups and downs of the first semester, the senior advisors will depart their freshmen homerooms, leaving their freshmen to navigate the rest of their time here at SLUH not alone, but together, using their advisors as an example.
About 60 senior advisors are picked every year to serve the incoming freshmen during their summer and first semester and help them transition smoothly from middle school to high school. Oftentimes the first faces the freshmen see at SLUH, the senior advisors serve as role models and as examples of Men for Others.
“I see the senior advisors as older mentor figures who know their way in and around SLUH and are just guys you want to get to know as freshmen,” said freshman Grayson Miller.
One of the first occasions where the entire freshman class is gathered on campus is the beloved Direction Days retreat early in the summer. Spanning over the course of two days, the freshmen are led by their enthusiastic senior advisors through a series of team-based activities where they are forced to work together as a class to overcome the obstacles they face. These activities help the students unite and build trust in each other so that they do not feel alone walking into school on the first day of classes.
“I almost had a panic attack when I pulled up to SLUH on the first day of Direction Days and saw STUCO pounding their drums outside,” said freshman Mason Morris. “It was there on Direction Days that I met some of my best friends and first experienced the spirit of this place.”
Despite leading the stampede of freshmen during the Running of the Bills, the senior advisors were placed on standby for the entire first quarter, not being able to go to their freshman homerooms, especially during the first couple crucial weeks of school when the freshmen needed their help the most.
“I feel like not being with all the freshmen at the start of the school year really took away from the traditional experience of being a senior advisor,” said Louis Cornett. “We weren’t able to see them grow with all their classmates in the first couple months and I just felt like I was never as close to my freshmen as I hoped I would be at the start of the school year.”
With the start of the second quarter, the picture changed. Now being allowed in their freshman homerooms, the senior advisors rejoiced in being able to bond with their freshmen again, either by engaging in controversial polls with them during morning homeroom, such as which is the best Supercell game, or just by asking what was going good or could be going better with their freshmen in one-on-one conversations.
“I loved it,” said senior Ismael Karim. “Just being that person in the front of the room for the freshman to talk to, asking questions to, and share experiences with was a vital part for me as a senior advisor this semester.”
One of the final events done with the freshmen and their senior advisors was the Freshmen Retreat, which was held on Nov. 22. A fitting end to the mentorship, the senior advisors reflected on their time here at SLUH and shared their experiences with their freshmen as they instructed the class on how to build a foundational brotherhood that would span outside the walls of SLUH. Using the retreat as a launching pad, the senior advisors hope that their lessons taught to their freshmen will help them grow stronger and more united as a class.
“It was a good way to meet some guys you never really got to talk to before even though you’re in the same class with them,” said freshman Nate Pini. “It was fun to do all the different activities with them throughout the retreat and was just a great way to grow closer as a class.”
The main role of senior advisors throughout this first semester was just to be bigger brothers to their freshmen advisees. By helping them learn how to properly email their teachers or by sharing good study habits, the senior advisors made a lasting impact on their freshmen, who will remember their brotherly love and assistance throughout their time at SLUH.
“It was just so good to have someone who was so helpful because they’d gone through all the things I was going through,” said Guneyli. “I am very thankful for my senior advisor … he helped me figure out formal attire because I was so confused with it but he made sure that I understood how to dress for next time.”
Now as the senior advisors act on their final duty of instructing the freshmen how to approach their first semester exams next week, they will be finishing their role of holding one of the most honorable and rewarding titles a student can hold as SLUH: being a senior advisor.
“It’s been a good ride,” said Cornett. “It was an amazing experience to be in these orange shirts and I can’t wait to see what kind of men these freshmen become through their time at SLUH. They truly are a special group of guys.”
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