Advisory community days implemented to promote sisterhood

In the interest of creating stronger relationships, time each month is being dedicated to the growth of the advisory community.

The+Blake+advisory+poses+for+a+group+selfie.+Renee+Blake%27s+advisory+has+17+students+as+of+the+2016-17+school+year.+photo+courtesy+of+Evelyn+Moser+

The Blake advisory poses for a group selfie. Renee Blake’s advisory has 17 students as of the 2016-17 school year. photo courtesy of Evelyn Moser

by Hannah Jirousek, Staff writer

Some advisories are known for their epic parties and tight knit groups, but others struggle to create conversation amidst a frenzy of phones, homework, and cliques.

Advisory Community Days have been implemented to promote advisory bonding during lunch and activity period at least once per month.

“Advisory Community Days came out of the students reporting, as well as the [advisors], that there just wasn’t enough time to build community, for team unity activities, or to plan things,” principal of academic affairs Barbara McCormick said.

Each month, advisories will meet without the added stress of meetings, study sessions, or test retakes. The hope is that with fewer distractions, advisory bonding will become more of a priority within each small group.

“Teachers and staff should not schedule things on an Advisory Community Day. So tutoring services, college visits, and anything we can stop doing on that one day, is the day we protect for the community,” McCormick said.

The dialogue between administration, students, and advisors began during the three student leadership workshops that have been held to discuss how to better improve advisories. These workshops will likely return again spring 2017 to discuss the effectiveness of the Community Days.

“Just from those little conversations that students shared with administration during the student leadership meeting, and the conversations at those workshops, we created the opportunity to pilot this,” McCormick said.

Around 9 or 10 Community Days have been structured into the school calendar for this year. Though, some coincide with events that advisories already celebrate together, like pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving feast, or other holiday parties.

This school year is serving as a trial for how the Advisory Community Days work logistically, if they prove effective, and even as an opportunity to facilitate a discussion about other ways for advisories to become more active in their relationships, such as group service work.

The goal of this new initiative is to aid in flourishing the faith, support, and academic aspects of community that are the intentions of the advisory model.

“The hope is that every student feels a sense of family… that they can identify with the sisterhood,” McCormick said.

Prayer, discussion, netflix, and even food are methods of bonding employed by advisories. But which are really working?

The Blake advisory is the longest running advisory with a legacy of 23 consecutive years and often celebrates together with advisory parties.

“We once tried three parties in one week, but that was a lot. So now we only do up to two, that’s the max,” advisor Renee Blake said.

The Blake advisory celebrates both birthdays and half birthdays for all 17 advisees, complete with a variety of possible party themes. They are also fond of playing the exciting card game called “spoons” and sharing food.

“We eat and we share our love for the panini maker. I advise everyone to start a GoFundMe and get their advisory a panini maker…It’s the best,” sophomore advisee, Evelyn Moser said, summing up her advisory as, “Pretty much we just talk and laugh.”

The Greene advisory is also notable as it is a relatively new group of only two years.

“I started with a baby advisory last year with 5 freshman,” advisor Jenny Greene said.

This year, the Greene advisory gained an additional four freshman to total 9 student advisees.

“[A smaller advisory] helps people grow closer in advisory…. I know it really helped me as a freshman. And Mrs. Greene really helped me a lot when I was stressed. She was someone who I could talk to, along with all the other people in my advisory,” sophomore advisee, Talia Parra said.

The Greene advisory bonds through conversation and parties, as well as prayer and meditation. According to Parra, the smaller size of the group facilitates a more personal environment for conversation and relationships, as well as support and open sharing.

“Advisory is the first place to recognize how a girl is doing at the school…We’re a first check in for people to share good things as well as struggles,” Greene said, ”The goal of advisory is to be a family. Here at school, it’s a safe spot to check in. A small group, community, and a microcosm of the bigger community that should be represented.”