Student advisees gather for a meal at the home of faculty members Lynn Berretoni and Andrew Caglieris.
High school is a time of growth, development and change, and while all of that can be exciting, it’s not always easy to navigate. Students are realizing their potential, honing their interests and beginning to plan for their futures, and having the support of trusted adults is critical. At Peddie, the advisor program serves as the hub of student support.
“The advisor program has been one of the most important aspects of my experience at Peddie, shares WIll Piepszak ‘21. “It has provided me with a guardian who listens, assists and cares for me and helps manage any worries I may have about my life here. My advisor shows me that Peddie values my life as a teenager, not just my performance as a student.”
Consistency and predictability are key
Deeply thoughtful, multi-faceted and founded on Peddie’s core values of respect, honesty, scholarship, balance and courage, the advisor program centers on a meaningful relationship between each student and the teacher who serves as their advisor. Every faculty advisor has an advisee group of about 4-8 students with whom they meet regularly, both individually and as a group. Individual meetings are times to reflect and assess their Peddie experience - academically, socially and personally - and to make sure they have supports in place to make the most of their time at Peddie. Group meetings, while often focusing on a school-wide topic of discussion - are more casual and fun.
Student Dean Leigh Wood heads up Peddie’s advisory program and brings intentionality and structure to it. “Key to the program are each advisor’s consistent support and the predictability they bring to the relationship,” she said. “Students need to be confident that their advisors will interact truthfully with them, present them with accurate information, follow through with assurances and respond in expected ways.”
I love being an advisor. I live the Peddie experience with my advisees. faculty member Hannah McCollum
“The advisee program provides me with a ‘go-to’ person who I can always approach about any of my problems or concerns,” shared Aarav Gupta ’22. “A special bond between a student and advisor develops over the course of their Peddie career, and my advisor is not only a mentor, but almost like family.”
Gupta’s advisor Hannah McCollum couldn’t agree more. “I love being an advisor. I live the Peddie experience with my advisees, so I serve as an adult who can provide support, advice and guidance with first-hand knowledge of this place, its culture and its resources.”
A multi-faceted approach
This knowledge is critical; advisors guide students in the direction of programs and support systems that enhance their Peddie journey. But the program goes far beyond the one-on-one relationship. Advisors work closely with their advisee parents, communicating with them on a regular basis and serving as their main point of contact. They also check in regularly with teachers, coaches and dorm supervisors to track student wellness and progress. And they make time for group activities too.
An advisee group visits Mannino's, the local pizzeria, for a lesson in pizza-making.
“Time is carved out for us to meet often as we help our advisees navigate their multi-faceted lives at Peddie,” shares McCollum. While one-on-one meetings are times for personal reflection and guidance, advisors meet regularly with their whole group of advisees for conversation or just for fun. Sometimes these meetings center on school-wide activities or topics for discussion; other times they’re informal get-togethers over a meal. “We have meaningful conversations, but there’s no sense of formality - they’re casual and relaxing,” says Gupta.
At its core, the advisory program centers around Peddie’s holistic approach to learning.
“Peddie prides itself on being a community, a place where life lessons are equally as important as school lessons, said Piepszak. “My advisor has made this school feel like home to me, and I'm incredibly grateful for his support.”