When students first start at Lourdes Hill College their Big Sister writes them a letter. This letter tells them to be brave, be inspired and explore all the College has to offer. A Big Sister walks beside their Little Sister during her first few years at the school, guiding her on the journey.
A Little Sister is welcomed and nurtured by their Big Sister, creating a bond that is unique to the College community. Their relationship promotes a supportive network of communication, belonging and connection.
The Big Sister Little Sister Program is a long-standing tradition that aims to build connections between the youngest members of the College and Senior School students.
The program is built upon the pillars of the Stella Wellbeing Framework, which aims to equip students with the strategies to build a flourishing life.
The Principal of Lourdes Hill College, Kay Gleeson, said the Stella Wellbeing Framework was a proactive approach to wellbeing.
“Through the Wellbeing program, we aim to create a place of joy and love of learning, where students treat each other kindly, talk to staff and seek help when needed, and utilise skills and strategies to manage their own thoughts, emotions, and relationships,” she said.
The program pairs students to enhance peer nurturing between Senior School students and Middle School students.
At its core, the program is about friendship, belonging and comfort. There is often nothing more intimidating to a young person than their first day at a new school.
“How will I make friends?”
“What if I get lost?”
“Will I fit in?”
These are common questions associated with starting a new school. Finding the place where you belong in a community of more than 1200 students can be difficult, but the Big Sister Little Sister program provides new students with a mentor in the form of a Big Sister.
Year 11 student and Big Sister Ava said being a Big Sister to her Little Sister Sofia was one of the most rewarding and anticipated ‘rites of passage’ offered by the College.
“On Sofia’s first day, I made sure to greet her with a gentle smile as there is nothing scarier than the first day of a big new school,” Ava said. “Since then, I have been checking in with her daily and providing support wherever she needs it. As a Big Sister it really is the small things that count.”
Being a Big Sister is also a positive developmental opportunity for Senior School students as they transition into the leaders of the College.
Kay Gleeson said that by taking a leadership role as a Big Sister, gentle leadership skills of patience, tolerance, understanding and flexibility were learnt.
Ava said she loves being a Big Sister. “It has given me a sense of responsibility and helped me to develop my leadership skills.”
Year 7 student and Little Sister Sofia said her Big Sister Ava was her role model, friend and supporter.
“Ava made me feel safe and welcome and is always there for me to answer my questions. I feel happy knowing that I will have Ava by my side for the next two years,” Sofia said.
The circular nature of the Big Sister Little Sister program allows Little Sisters to embody the values their Big Sister taught them when they reach Senior School and become Big Sisters themselves.
The Big Sister Little Sister Program is unique to Lourdes Hill College with a priority of holistic education that stems from feelings of belonging, purpose and connection.
When a Big Sister writes her Little Sister a letter, she tells her to be brave, be inspired and feel connected to the welcoming community of the College.
Lourdes Hill College was established in 1916 by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and now belongs to the community of 10 schools across Australia called Good Samaritan Education. For more information about the College, click here.