Big Sib Program Expands To Include Parental Roles

The Big Sib Program expands to include parental roles.

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By Samantha Ruinsky

The Big Sib Program has historically had upperclassmen serve as older sibling figures for underclassmen, supporting hundreds of new students in their adjustment to Stuyvesant. However, the program has been renamed to the Big Family Program with the guidance suite’s introduction of additional roles to the organization: parents.

“Guidance has been discussing how we think it’s necessary to really lean into the family idea of the Big Sib Program,” Assistant Principal of Pupil Personnel Services and Counseling Casey Pedrick explained. “The Big Sib-Little Sib dynamic is very helpful in supporting our freshmen and sophomore transfer students, but the connection between a child and their parent or guardian is different. We hope to emulate that relationship in the Big Family Program.”

“This year, we’re piloting Big Mommy and Big Daddy as new roles,” Big Family Chair Delloo Lu said. “We choose two or three of the six Big Family Members in each homeroom to become Big Parents while the rest become Big Sibs. How do we choose them…? Uh, can the next part be off the record? Thanks. We choose Big Parents based on who we like the least ‘cause, like, who wants to be called mommy or daddy by freshmen? I remember choosing one of  1PP’s Big Parents because she took the last cafeteria guac right before me, and that was the last time it was served for lunch before the NYC budget cuts. But anyway, we tell everyone Big Parents are randomly chosen. Okay, you can go back on the record now.”

So far, the additional roles seem to be yielding positive outcomes in Little Sibs’ emotional well-being. Rates of nervous breakdowns and guidance visits have dropped by 235 percent, leading the administration to fire half of all the guidance counselors and redirect the money toward PE equipment and library craft supplies. One of the most effective methods Big Parents are using is practicing scenarios with their Little Sibs. “I used to constantly worry about what my parents would say if I got below a 94 on anything,” 1XX Little Sib Montero Hill said. “So my Big Daddy did some exposure therapy with me. Basically, I’d tell him about my grades, and he’d scream at me a lot, like what my parents would do but even worse. And it worked, I got desensitized! I don’t care about my grades at all anymore! I think after this school year ends, I’m gonna drop out of high school and become a rapper. I’m already on SoundCloud—just search up Lil Sib X.”

Despite the Big Parents’ successes so far, the Stuyvesant community has brought up some concerns about the new roles. The lack of stepfamily representation is a common complaint among students. Actual Little Sibs’ parents have emailed the school about how the program “goes against traditional family values” and that “this alternative lifestyle choice is a sin.” Additionally, some Big Family members have found that the new roles can feel uncomfortable for onlookers. “Two of the Big Family members in my homeroom are in a relationship,” 1PP Big Mommy Loann Lee said. “Which I don’t care about, except that the two Big Family members are our Big Daddy and one of our Big Sibs. It’s… it’s gotten to be a little… uncomfortable since they do a lot of PDA while, um, referring to each other by their roles. I wish we could swap around roles so that the Big Sib is our Big Mommy and I become just a Big Sib. That might make it a little better. But the Chairs said the roles were randomly chosen, so we can’t really do anything about it.”

Overall, it seems that the Big Family Program is here to stay and will continue to find new ways to support underclassmen. For example, the administration and the Big Family Chairs have been discussing implementing pet roles next year. “Being a Big Mommy or a Big Daddy sounds so cool!” 1LL Big Sib Phur Ree said. “I’m sad that I got chosen to be a normal Big Sib because trying one of those new roles seems fun. Pet roles sound so awesome too, like Big Puppy or Big Kitten. I really like being petted and getting tummy tickles. Also, I’m really good at making animal sounds. AROOOO! Bark bark bark ARF! Hissss! Mrowww, purrrrrr~! Boy, am I excited for next year’s program. Booyah.”