By Anish Sundar ’20
Freshman experience. These two words characterize the role that Big Brothers play in our Bellarmine community.
“The Big Brother program aims to move towards a direction filled with ‘engaging and voluntary fun’ in which upperclassmen help ease the transition that freshmen face between middle school and high school,” said Mr. Ruddell. Mr. Ruddell is one of three faculty members in charge of the freshman experience.
This program has been in existence for several years now and its mission is to form “men for and with others” – individuals who help and guide the freshmen in their first year of high school. Mr. Ruddell states that “Big Brothers are the macrocosm of Bellarmine” and everyone who is a part of the program can offer much advice and speak from their experiences as a Bellarmine student.
Big Brothers participate in various activities. From checking in with freshmen and seeing how their week has been to enjoying breakfast burritos together before class starts, Big Brothers are there for any of a freshman’s needs. The biggest event in which Big Brothers participate in is the freshman overnight retreat, where students are able to get to know each other on a deeper level.
Matthew Nazari ’20, a Big Brother, said that “confidence is key and is the first step that freshmen should take when engaging with others in the Bellarmine community.” He added that “confidence will get you friends, lead you to take new risks and rewards, and make school loads less daunting.”
Big Brothers not only represent and embody the school and its principles but also help spread the passion and excitement that they have for the various programs and activities that Bellarmine has to offer. Big Brothers help to be “mentors and [can be used] as resources for freshmen,” said Mr. Ruddell.
Mr. Ruddell and Big Brothers are happy to share their experiences with upperclassmen who are interested in applying for the Big Brother program. It is very important to be authentic and to express yourself in the truest manner. What matters most is showing that you have the excitement and interest in being a man for and with others. Big Brothers help transition freshmen into a new environment of ideas and cultures and begin the next chapter of their lives.