At the core of the New Hampton experience lies the Advisory Program. Groups of five to six students meet frequently to share, grow, discover, and support one another. With weekly advisory meetings, as well as additional group outings, these groups quickly become families. To better understand how New Hampton’s Advisory Program can transform the student experience, we sat down with veteran advisor Peg Frame to discuss what the advisory program means to her.
How many years have you been an advisor?
I came to New Hampton back in 2006 so this will be my thirteenth year as an advisor. It’s been really fun to usher several groups of students through all four years on campus. To this day, I still hear from a lot of my advisees. Just the other day, actually, one of my old advisees FaceTimed me. She’s a Junior in college now but still calls me “Framey” and asks for help on her chemistry homework. I’ve really become like another mom over the years.
What do you believe is the most impactful aspect of New Hampton’s advisory program?
Having an advisor is like having a parent away from home. Students can feel safe coming to that one trusted adult. As an advisor, I am there for my students; to guide them and support them during difficult decision making.
As an advisor, in what ways are you able to support parents as well as kids?
Good communication really makes a huge difference. By reaching out to parents on a regular basis, advisors are really supporting both parents and students. Often, kids can dump a ton of negative information or news on their parents just because they need to vent. Hearing from advisors allows parents to put the information they hear from their kids in perspective. I also think it’s reassuring to know that, even though your child is away from home, there is an adult in their corner who is looking out for them.
What is your favorite part about being an advisor?
My favorite moments are really found in the unstructured time, like when you’re out to dinner with the kids. The other week I took my group out to breakfast, that is when you can really be there for them. It’s in those moments that you can really get the students to open up, and start breaking down the walls they could be putting up. Whether it’s having them over to make brownies or letting them convince me to bring them to Dunkin’ Donuts, its those moments that I really enjoy. Those are the times that really make a difference.
In what ways does an advisory group shape a student’s New Hampton career?
I think an advisory group is the starting point for students to find that one trusted adult and that sense of community on a smaller scale. Advisory is a family unit; it’s the New Hampton community in a smaller way. The group provides a foundational sense of place in my opinion. I also think it’s helpful that advisees are made up of kids from the same grades. Being on the same playing field with everyone makes a difference.
Based on your years of experience, what is the most important lesson that students learn from advisory?
The most important lesson students could learn from advisory is the knowledge and skill of how to build and maintain healthy relationships. Relationship building is not something all kids know how to do, but I think advisory groups are the small, safe places students need in order to learn how to build relationships. Every group is different. They all have the commonality of their class year but you won’t find kids who are all in the same sports group or the same art program. I think that really helps students learn how to connect to one another and form lasting relationships.