Bridge program connects new students to the Haverford community

Third Formers during the 2019 Bridge Program – Ms. Sarah Leonard

During the last week of June, rising Third Formers new to Haverford were invited to campus for the annual Bridge Program, a four-day orientation run jointly with the Agnes Irwin School. The long-standing program is designed to ease the transition to a new school, help boys get to know one another as well as girls from AIS, and become familiar with the school campus, faculty, administration and upper school leaders. 

This year, the program consisted of a day on campus and three days on Agnes Irwin’s campus. The first day, students met with members of the Signet Society, Honor Council, and other important student body organizations. They also took campus tours, met faculty, and familiarized themselves with many of the community’s customs and traditions. 

“Meeting the new guys during Bridge is the beginning of a relationship with upperclassmen,” Honor Council Chairmen, Signet Society member, and Sixth Former Luke Feznak said. “They will see us up on stage at the beginning of the year’s activities, on the fields, and in the halls throughout the year, so it’s good to get an early introduction.” 

Dean of Students Mr. Luqman Kolade agreed. 

“The intent is to form connections, to help students begin the process of knowing one another, upperclassmen student leaders and to feel comfortable from the first day of school,” Mr. Kolade said. 

Additional faculty member participants included Ms. Brooke Kenna, Mr. Brian Long, and Mr. Timothy Lengel.  

While Bridge has existed for years, programming has evolved. Once primarily an academic-based orientation, the focus is now on community building and connection. In addition to fun activities like bowling, there is also a community service component. This year, students volunteered with Cradles to Crayons. 

“It helps foster relationships early, you will find guys talking about Bridge years after participating.”

Mr. Luqman Kolade

Over twenty boys participated in the program this summer, and Mr. Kolade believes that the benefits of participation are long-standing. 

“It helps foster relationships early, you will find guys talking about Bridge years after participating,” Mr. Kolade said. “I see the benefits, on the first day of school, when boys who are new to the school walk in and immediately start talking and walking around with the guys they met at Bridge. This is what Haverford is—it is all about the relationships.”