School Friendship: Oakton HS & JEB Stuart HS
Oakton High School
This year we’ve had a large number of special education students who are unable to attend chapter meetings and activities outside of school; therefore, we’ve been challenged on how to meaningfully involve these in-school buddies with our chapter.
Despite our buddies only being able to attend in-school activities, it is a priority for our chapter to ensure they have the same worthwhile experience. While many students were eager to apply as peer buddies, they worried that the friendships wouldn’t be as strong if their buddies couldn’t meet outside of school.
Another challenge we’ve encountered is ensuring that each month we’ve planned an in-school chapter meeting for our buddies who were unable to attend the out-of-school ones. We’ve held an in-school match party, meal packing event, and holiday party, all three of which were very successful for both our in-school buddy pairs and chapter.
As the year progresses, planning in-school events will remain an essential aspect of each month. As officers, we will continue to encourage our in-school buddies and their parents to attend any events possible, as well as make certain that regardless of someone’s ability to attend an event, that they will have the same opportunities to grow strong friendships within school hours.
We are extremely proud of our chapter’s in-school buddy pairs and the way that they’ve modeled inclusion and friendship for every member in our chapter.
JEB Stuart High School
On September 13, over 85 JEB Stuart High School students joined me and our co-president Tucker Rawlings in a small classroom, eager to start a Best Buddies program in our school community. I learned about Best Buddies at the end of my freshman year and pulled together a small working group to establish the program once the 2017 school year began.
From the start, this program enabled me to create new bonds and friendships, from the officers and sponsor of this club to the many people I had not previously met who showed an interest in this program. As you can imagine, we faced our fair share of challenges, but those challenges compelled us to work together and served to strengthen our friendship, teamwork and leadership skills.
Similar to our school motto “We are One” and student-led Positivity Project lessons, the inclusion message that Best Buddies promotes is one that I’m excited to share with others. As we begin 2018, I’m looking forward to pairing and meeting my buddy, and developing new relationships through this club.