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Q&A with Big/Little Archer Sisters Club leaders on community, intergrade bonding

The+Big%2FLittle+Archer+Sisters+Club+members+make+friendship+bracelets+and+share+snacks+out+on+the+back+field.+The+club+meets+every+other+Friday+to+strengthen+bonds+between+students+of+all+grades.+Photo+by+Rachel+Michiel.
The Big/Little Archer Sisters Club members make friendship bracelets and share snacks out on the back field. The club meets every other Friday to strengthen bonds between students of all grades. Photo by Rachel Michiel.

Sitting in a circle of picnic blankets under the warm sunlight of the back field, the Big/Little Archer Sisters Club shares snacks and advice. The club seeks to foster community and form friendships across grades, as well as mentor its younger members.

Juniors Rachel Michiel and Emma Winkler created the club at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, and they meet every other Friday. Students of all grades give advice while also participating in activities to grow closer, such as making friendship bracelets. Although the leaders plan every meeting, they allow club members to create and lead other activities.

The Oracle sat down with with Winkler and Michiel to learn more about how the club fosters unity and connection across grades.

What inspired you to create Big/Little Archer Sisters?

Rachel Michiel [RM]: I was really inspired by the work that I had done as a stage manager for the middle school students. I really just found myself giving advice ranging from what classes to take next year to “Don’t let a homework assignment stress you out — you’ve got this,” to even giving advice on homework … So I really just wanted to turn that advice that I was giving into a forum and a space. I also know how crucial it is for upper school students to connect with middle school students and how sometimes people are scared to make that step. Creating this club would eliminate that barrier so that students could really find friendships and intermix with grades.

How do you hope members of the club will benefit from it?

Emma Winkler [EW]: I came [to Archer] in sixth grade. All throughout middle school, I felt very confined to my grade. And I was really shy, and I knew that coming to high school, I wanted that to change. So something that really helped with that was yearbook and being able to interact within grades and also having to interview people and younger grades. So I really found such a difference in how I saw the Archer community when I could connect with others from a bunch of grades, whether middle school or high school. And so this was … something I wanted others to gain from this club.

How have you grown closer to club members over the year?

[EW]: I remember when we were doing the Club Fair, we had all these people come sign up. Maybe I’d seen their face in the hallway, but I didn’t really know them. And getting to do these things, especially when it comes to connecting with the middle school, I’ve seen a crazy difference. It’s so sweet, and it just lights up the hallways every time I walk down them now to be able to recognize people, say hello [and] stop for a little chat.

[RM]: I brought in, out of habit, a bunch of my friends, to sign up for the club … So I really let them take the lead in bonding [during club activities]. We don’t create a lot of structure in our meetings because we really want it to be conversational. We want it to be current topics of the day. People want to be like, “Oh, my day has been so difficult,” or, “Oh, I did really well on this test.” We want that to kind of be the celebration of the club meeting.

What’s your favorite part of leading Big/Little Archer Sisters?

[RM]: We’re located on the back field. A lot of middle school students actually eat lunch out there, so they walk up and they see our club sitting in a circle with a bunch of snacks, and maybe snacks are the most enticing part.

[EW]: We hope to think it’s our good looks and charm.

[RM]: They’re like, “What’s going on?” and then they bring their friends, and then they sit down and they join in, and seeing that we can have that impact in person and have these other people just want to join because of how fun it looks. I think that’s really seeing our mission statement come to fruition.

What do you hope to see in Big/Little Archer Sisters’ future?

[EW]: This is, obviously, our junior year. So fortunately or unfortunately, however you look at it, we only have one year after this left at Archer. So I think a big thing for me is just leaving it in a good place next year.

[RM]: That’s always kind of on my mind is: “Who am I going to pass the torch to?” … It’s our junior year; we have our senior year, so we really want to pour everything into that. But I also don’t want this club to fizzle out or end when we leave Archer. I think [what] will be such an impactful thing is to come back two or three years [later and] this club is still standing, the club is still here.

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Burnap, Staff Reporter
Charlotte Burnap became a staff reporter in 2023. At Archer, she sings in choir and the Unaccompanied Minors, Archer's a cappella group. In her free time, you can find her listening to music, reading, or hanging out with her friends.

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