Buddies is back


High School “Buddies” pose for a group shot in front of the coliseo in 2019, the last year of the Buddies program.

After 4 years TCS has brought the program back the Buddies program on February 26 linking high school and middle school students after the pandemic forced a 2-year interruption. 

The Buddies program seeks to build leadership and give high school students from grades 10-12 opportunities to learn and lead activities, manage groups, and work with other people. For middle school students, Buddies is an opportunity for reflection on topics that contribute to personal development.

“There are studies that support that when the information comes from peers or people close in age, it has a higher level of receptivity in young students. So the fact that middle school students listen to high school students has an advantage from the source that brings the information,” Ana Garcia, High School Counselor, said.

Buddies was first implemented in 2011 seeking to provide continuity to the VIDA program, serving elementary school students. Its purpose is to continue the intervention associated with character formation and life skills for students. 

“I remember Buddies as an exciting experience I enjoyed and from which I learned. Buddies helped me to get to know other people in my grade that I hadn’t talked with and overall it was a great experience. Which is why I signed up this year so I can leave that legacy and make part of the fun enriching program,” Amalia Sierra, Grade 11, said.

In their application students had to send a video in which they introduced themselves, and justified their desire to participate, and proposed a potential activity for the sessions. The applications were closed on February 20. 

“If I had the opportunity to get involved in the program I would not hesitate. I feel that it is an opportunity that makes me see life differently and it is not what happens daily but that it addresses crucial topics,” Raquel Londoño, Class of ’20, said. 

Buddies group was announced a week after the applications closed, and the training day will take place on February 3. The training is after the school day and the goal of the session is to unite the group of Buddies and give students strategies on group management, instructions, expectations, and topics of the sessions. 

“I liked my Buddies a lot, it is an experience that he allowed me to share with other people from the school. They taught me how to deal with the difficulties of classes and gave me advice for different situations. I had a fun time in the mornings before starting classes and I think it should continue to be implemented,” Senior Paulina Alvarez said.

As Buddies is just coming back there will be a change in frequency starting this semester with six sessions. Buddies will take place on Wednesdays for six weeks at the same time that Middle School has advisory. However, high school students will leave at the end of one class and be late for the next. 

“The students know that it implies commitment and responsibility and that they must catch up in their classes, which is why only students who are interested applied,” García said.

Buddies is carried out in union and support of ASOPAF, which provides resources and materials for the sessions and training day, plus helps make t-shirts that identify the students. The school provides resources, personnel, and capacity. 

“What I’ve heard from Buddies is that someone older than me teaches me what I’m just learning and gives me advice. I find it very cool and I would like to have the program because it helps us to learn more and guide us in our journey throughout the school,” Camila Barrera, Grade 8, said.

Issues like integrity, peer pressure, doubts, and problems from adolescence are addressed. High School students share the mistakes they made, or things they would have liked to know. Buddies is a way that the school moves away from traditional education but still implements assertive education. 

“It seemed to me a very enriching and beautiful opportunity to share and give the advice that one lacked to someone who may need it. The coexistence, communication, and lessons that one needs for life. Whoever has the opportunity should get in,” Londoño said.