Big Siblings

Big Siblings MX Continues Parker Tradition


Photo credit: Nick Saracino

Seniors Gray Joseph, Mortimer Buckley, Evan Sato, Payton Pitts, Owen Stepan, and Caleb David cross the gym hand in hand at the Big Siblings MX.

I had been waiting for that moment, to walk in circles in the blue shirt, for a long time,” senior Johnny Mansueto said.

Big Siblings is a longstanding tradition for Parker. It starts with a Morning Exercise in early September where all of the seniors are honored. They walk into the big gym in groups of two or three following a bagpiper and the senior gradeheads. While circling around the gym, they wave to parents and students of all grades. 

After circling the gym, the seniors sit in chairs behind Principal Dan Frank.. Dr. Frank speaks about Big Siblings as a unique chance to unite the community. “I found the MX really cool,” seventh grader Neel Malhotra said. “It’s a good idea for the seniors to walk around so that everyone can see them. It’s a very unique thing for a school to do.”

Every year, each classroom from JK to eighth grade is assigned seniors as their designated big siblings who, throughout the year, will meet with them to do several activities. During the MX, a few student representatives from each class or grade come up to greet their big siblings. 

“I didn’t understand the concept of Big Siblings at first,” Malhotra said because he is new to Parker, “but my advisor told me a little bit and helped me feel more comfortable during the MX.”

Upper School Dean Joe Bruno is one of the organizers of the Big Siblings process, along with Executive Assistant Sarah Butterfield. “During Graderoom, the Grade Heads of the senior class send them a form, instructing them to rank their top three choices and why,” Bruno said. Bruno goes through the seniors’ responses and tries his best to assign them their first or second choice. 

Many seniors have a reason for why they want to be the Big Sibling to a specific grade. Often, seniors have memories from when they were younger, they work well with a specific age group, or they might have a sibling in a lower grade. 

Naomi Pendo, an eighth-grade student , has been at Parker since JK. “I’m looking forward to being a big sibling and hope that it can be for Mrs. Greenie’s first-grade class because I had Mrs. Greenie in first grade,” Pendo said.

So far this year, the only time the seniors have met with their Little Siblings was during the MX, but there are six other dates planned for meetings over the course of this school year, including one in October. “I always love meeting with the Big Siblings because they are really good role models,” Pendo said. “As I got older, they gave me good advice about high school.”

Younger students appreciate having a senior role model, mainly because they’ve gone through all of middle and high school and have lots of good advice. “Senior year is full of emotion, growth, and self-realization, and receiving love from the whole school probably feels very good to them,” Bruno said. 

Twenty of the current seniors came to Parker in their freshman year, so they never got to experience what it was like to have a Big Sibling. “For someone who came to Parker at the beginning of high school, it must be weird to be a Big Sibling because you don’t fully understand what it’s like to be a Little Sibling,” Mansueto said, “But in the end, it brings the community together in the best way imaginable like no other school.”