Manoela Dos Santos – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – The LRHS Buddy Program has thrived this past quarter. Club members have assisted 16 new students and are ready to help more.

kelsey le and joseph pulaski - buddies
Joseph Pulaski (l) and Kelsey Le show how the LRHS Buddy Program works

Buddy Program adviser and LRHS science teacher Tammy Harper said, “The club’s success comes in new friendships made and all students feeling like they have found a home in their new school.”

The Buddy Program was established six years ago by the LRHS school counselors. A buddy’s primary job is to help a new student for two days by getting them get their ID and books, making sure they know how to get around campus, eating lunch with them and introducing them to other students. It is common that some buddies become close friends.

The Buddy Program runs all year but students can join during the first quarter. Harper noted that, “It is also sometimes helpful to have a buddy who is bilingual in the new student’s native language.”

Other character traits that make a great buddy include being thoughtful, interesting, and having a desire to make others feel comfortable.

Sophomore Kelsey Le was a buddy for freshman Joseph Pulaski.

For two days, Le was responsible for guiding her buddy around school and answering any questions he had. “I enjoyed being able to help someone in my school. I still sit with my buddy on even days at lunch,” she said.

Pulaski was grateful for having Le guide him around school, “I felt really lost and since I’m a freshman I didn’t know anyone. Kelsey really helped me out my first day of school. I really like Lakewood Ranch so far.”