Connection, Competition, Support: Freshmen and Senior Siblings at Staples

Eliza Llewellyn, Staff Writer

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As one sibling saunters down the hallways sporting a senior sweatshirt and dangling car keys, another rushes from class to class lugging a giant backpack, branded as a lowly freshman. In Staples, there is no shortage of seniors with freshmen siblings. The relationship can present challenges, but can be mutually rewarding to both parties.

For the freshman sibling, having a senior brother or sister yields benefits in the form of survival tips.

“Nick was pretty nervous for high school, so I gave him a lot of information about Staples,” said Annabel Burchill, ‘12, whose sibling, Nick, is a freshman. Annabel shared advice with her brother on what classes to take.

Seniors, with a realistic point of view on the challenges of high school, can help establish a strong work ethic. Colby Kranz’s brother, Jordan, ‘12, advised that she work hard and make the most of her first year at Staples.

Not only do older siblings give advice, but they provide freshmen with automatic connections.  “I get more respect than a typical freshman,” said Nick Burchill ‘15. Having a tie to upperclassmen makes the seniors seem more approachable and familiar. “I automatically know twice as many people than I would if I didn’t have a sister in 12th grade,” added Nick. According to Colby ‘15 the upperclassmen that she is acquainted with through Jordan are always friendly to her.

Although incoming freshmen may be new to Staples, they are often recognizable to teachers through a sibling connection. “The teachers are a lot friendlier from the start,” said Ronan May ‘15, whose sister is Sinead May ‘12. Following in the footsteps of a studious brother or sister sets a strong foundation for a positive student-teacher relationship. But sometimes the correlation can have a slightly different effect. “Teachers viewing me as Jordan’s sister can either be a great thing or a not so good thing,” said Colby. “Whenever I walk into a classroom and the teachers ask, ‘are you Jordan’s sister?’ I never know what to expect.”

Sharing common teachers, classes, and schedules can result in competition between siblings. Rivalry peaks when IPRs and report cards come out. “[Chloe and I] are like, ‘Did you get sparkles like a gem? Because I did,’” said Lily Rosenfield ’12, whose sister is Chloe Rosenfield ‘15.  Although sharing a school can breed competition between even the closest of siblings, it also gives them an environment to strengthen their relationships. “One night when [Chloe and I] were at home we were fighting,” said Lily, “but we hugged and made up in the caf.”

Freshmen may be associated with their older siblings, but are not tethered to the identities of their brothers or sisters. As freshmen join new clubs and begin to forge their identities at Staples, they become more than just a senior’s kid sibling. “The older kids first see me as Sinead’s brother but then learn my name after awhile,” said Ronan.

In a school that boasts everything from an ultimate Frisbee club to Model UN to football, there is room for each sibling to be unique. “I find that people usually view me as an individual,” said Nick. With the school’s size and copious social groups and activities, it is common that siblings barely overlap during the day and after school. Nick and Annabel have completely different interests, with Nick playing football and lacrosse and Annabel participating in dance and Players.

With the range of clubs and sports at Staples, it is easy for every student to find a niche. But the family connection can open up new activities to students. “Nick is always saying how he wants to join Players,” Annabel said.

For the seniors, there are benefits to having mini-me’s at the same school. Although upperclassmen often view freshmen as pests, many seniors appreciate having a family member in the same school.  “[Nick and I] haven’t been in the same school for seven years, so sharing the same school environment this year has been a great experience so far,” said Annabel. “It is definitely nice to have some company on the way to school.”

Even if it’s just a simple hello, blood is thicker than water at Staples. “In the halls I totally embarrass [Jordan],” Kranz said. “But that’s what I’m there for.”

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