Gator-Aide Program Welcomes New Students


Brian Beale

The Gator-Aides with Associate Director of College Counseling Dona Rehm, a founder of the program.

Earlier this year, the School introduced Gator-Aides, a new leadership program for seniors where new students can make connections with the graduating class through weekly lunch and other activities.

According to Associate Director of College Counseling Dona Rehm, a founder of the program, Gator-Aides is “designed to help new students, both 9th graders and transfer students, acclimate to the school while also supporting their development of different skills and tools as they enter early adulthood.”

In order to be accepted into the program, 12th-grade students must go through an interview process to assess their demonstrated passion for the school.

Iris Bishins ’22, who came to the school as a 10th-grader, joined the program going into her 12th-grade year.

“I wanted to join for the leadership experience,” Bishins said. “So far I enjoy it, and I think it’s going well.” 

Once the Gator-Aide program began, the 12th grade received access to training resources, frequent check-ins, and a weekly timeline. According to Rehm, the main goal of these mentors is to help new students adjust and feel welcomed in the community. The Gator-Aides have assisted with teaching students the School’s Core Values, choosing electives, celebrating school traditions, practicing email etiquette, and more. 

On the program’s Canvas page, a description from Brown University describes mentors as “a guide by the side” on a module titled “What is a mentor?”

“Mentorship relies on the effectiveness of certain skills, such as communication, relationship building, and trust, setting goals and expectations, and privacy,” Rehm said.

The 9th-grade students report that Gator-Aides has been a supportive program for newcomers to the School.

New Student Jack Malloy ’25 said that meeting with his Gator-Aides has been a fun experience.

“I like talking with the seniors, and I think it’s interesting to learn about different classes and aspects of Brimmer,” Malloy said.

According to Tucker Bernon ’25, being a Gator-Aide has its perks.

“I like meeting with the seniors,” Bernon said. “Even though there’s a big age difference, we are making a connection.” 

Gator-Aides meet with 9th graders at lunch. (Joshua Neudel)