Up-routed: Ambassador Leadership Team adapts to new tour route


Photo credit: London Sinclair

Tour Guide Vice-Chair Chidimma Nwafor tours a prospective family. “I usually ask [prospective students] what they are interested in at the beginning [of the tour], so I can showcase the aspects of Archer that will interest the individual families,” ALT member Jessica Tuchin (’21) said.

An aspiring young tour guide’s training begins on the week of Oct. 1. They roam down the Archer hallways familiarizing themselves with the route, trying not to glance down at the paper. Later in the day, they meet their ALT mentor in the sunlit historic courtyard practicing, asking questions and going over the logistics. Lastly, they sit down on the gray couch in the admissions area, waiting to take the official tour test with an admissions officer.

As tour season begins, the Archer community is opening its doors to prospective families for the 2020-2021 school year as well as introducing the Diana Meehan Academic Center to prospective families. 

“They are still going to be as invested in the Archer education, the all-girls experience, the ambitious joyful philosophy that we have, and what the academic center does is just enhance all the qualities and all the attributes that Archer represents,” Paik said. 

Archer broke ground on its new academic center in January 2017 as part of the Moving Archer Forward initiative. The construction lasted approximately 18 months, and the Archer community celebrated the Grand Opening on April 13, 2019. Considering this is the first tour season Archer has had in the new center, the admissions team has trained student ambassadors on the new tour route.

“With the opening of the Diana Meehan Center, the admissions office moved from the historic building,” Paik said. “Because of that change and because of the beautiful new building, we wanted to highlight it on our tour route.”

The 120 student ambassadors “guide the families through the campus” while providing a “sense of what it’s like to go to school here,” Paik said.

One of the new stops in the route is the amphitheater courtyard, which ALT member Langdon Janos believes “showcases Archer’s mission the best.”

“When we are in the amphitheater courtyard, we talk about the new building and how it was designed to give girls a place to learn, and how all the different aspects of the new building contribute to that,” Janos said.

Unlike Janos, ALT member Chidimma Nwafor (’22) said that the historic courtyard is “the heart of the school.”

“It shows prospective families the connection between students,” Nwafor said. “I feel like the courtyard is where you can best see the sisterhood in action.”

Paik also said the historic courtyard is the epitome of Archer and what the school stands for.

“There is a lot of laughter and a lot of camaraderies that you can see among all the Archer girls when you walk through the historic courtyard,” she said. “You really see all the girls coming and going.”

I am looking forward to making memories in the new Diana Meehan Academic Center and sharing them on tours with prospective families in the future.”

— Ambassador Jessica Tuchin

Another ALT member, junior Jessica Tuchin, noted that her favorite place to showcase on the tour to prospective families is the great new kitchen and servery that was built as part of the new campus’ master plan.

“I think one of the coolest parts about the new building is the servery, which I love showcasing on the tour,” Tuchin said. “The servery has a lot of healthy options that we can grab in between classes, during our free periods or X-block, which is convenient. It is definitely one of my favorite additions to the new building.”

The construction brought the new kitchen and servery but also a training center, sports court, field and over 30 new classrooms. These additional facilities are piquing interest and “attracting many more families,” Paik said.

“During the open houses earlier this year, prospective families more or less always asked, ‘Can we see the new field?’, so I feel like now that the new building is complete prospective families will be more interested in what Archer has to offer,” said Nwafor.

Due to the additional facilities, the Archer tour route became longer and, for Nwafor and other tour guides, “harder to memorize.”

Eighth-grader Kelsey Ritchie likes to practice the tour in front of a mirror or a friend so she can “receive feedback” and have and “see how she sounds.”

Considering the new tour requires students to commit more time to learn the route, Tuchin volunteered to be an ALTeacher and train new students interested in becoming ambassadors. Being an ALTeacher also gives Tuchin a chance to keep memorizing the tour route.

Tuchin especially loves being a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team [ALT] because it allows her to share stories about herself and her experiences at Archer.

Though Janos said ambassadors and prospective students feel “passion” towards the opening of the Academic Center, what makes Archer special to her is the people.

“I really think that it doesn’t matter what building we’re in, but it’s about the community at Archer,” Janos said, “and the kind of sisterhood that we have here that makes families interested.”