Each year, Calhoun 12th graders engage in a multi-layered experience called Senior Work, which consists of an internship/mentorship combined with in-school companion courses and workshops known as BRiDGE. This year, the program was revamped to fit Calhoun’s hybrid model, allowing for experiences both in school and at home.
An acronym for Build, Reflect, Implement, Develop, Grow and Enrich, BRiDGE programming aims to provide students with tools that support the transition from high school to their next steps. BRiDGE provides a window into the future and encourages students to think critically about entering young adulthood. Seniors explore how to be an employee in the short- and long-term, how to be an engaged citizen, how to discover what matters to them and how to use that knowledge to make the most out of life beyond Calhoun. By facilitating the exploration of each Calhouner’s unique future, BRiDGE courses truly reflect their namesake — serving as a bridge between school life and the world beyond 81st Street.
Below are some highlights of the Senior Work/BRiDGE experience this year:
The Mentorship Program
Every senior was paired with a professional mentor working in a field or industry of interest to that senior. The student and their mentor had weekly meetings, and students were responsible for preparing for those meetings and writing weekly reflections about their takeaways.
BRiDGE courses consisted of a series of core classes along with electives covering a range of topics including Health/Wellness, "Adulting," Professional Development and Personal Enrichment. Here are a few highlights:
This course taught seniors the critical skill of negotiation. Students learned how to analyze and understand their own position and counterpart in a negotiation. Together, the students engaged in simulated negotiations, allowing them to practice new approaches and techniques. Students completed the course feeling more confident and able to advocate for themselves.
Surviving & Thriving in the Workplace
This workshop shed light on how to succeed in the workplace. The plethora of topics covered included how to communicate effectively, tips for time management when faced with multiple tasks, and how to make a good impression at first jobs or internships.
Citizenship & Voting
Seniors delved into the New York City mayoral election, its new election rules and how to prepare for them. The class also discussed the importance of citizenship as students assume the responsibilities of democratic governance.
Mind, Body, and Soul
This course aimed to help Calhouers create a wellness-centered foundation focused on exercise, nutrition and mindfulness. Twelfth graders explored healthy eating in a college setting as well as stress reduction and tips for keeping focus.
Upper School teachers joined seniors for book clubs. With 11 titles to choose from, students and their facilitators read and analyzed classic novels like Pride and Prejudice and The Fellowship of the Ring. Seniors took responsibility for leading and facilitating the conversation and did so on a rotating basis.
All seniors worked towards a personal project, supported and scaffolded by their Senior Work advisor. Some students chose to participate in an internship as their project; other students chose to explore a personal passion by digging deeper into a topic of interest, learning about something they have not had a chance to, or creating a work of art.
Part of life beyond Calhoun is about having fun! During this year’s BRiDGE programming, students enjoyed activities beyond 81st Street designed to facilitate grade-wide bonding and reflection. Outdoor excursions including a day of exploration on Governors Island and a Senior Field Day at Riverside Park.