Inside BB&N: Senior prefects


Anjali Reddy, Off Campus Editor

Forming the tunnel all new students run through before ceremoniously joining the Upper School (US) community are 16 members of a tradition of over 20 years: Senior Prefects. After the pandemic put the program on hold for one year, the school has returned to its spirit activities with their help.

Senior Prefects organize the theme for each day of spirit week leading up to homecoming and the Knighting Ceremony, select which students and faculty will speak at the Thanksgiving Assembly, act as ushers at graduation, and set up the Freshman Center. They are also expected to “help set a high moral tone within the school,” according to the application.

Dean of Students Rory Morton ’81 and Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students Kerri Anne Shea, who select Senior Prefects by reading applications, interviewing applicants, and asking faculty members for feedback, look for certain aspects in the 15-20 students chosen as Prefects.

“The students should be positive, dependable, friendly and outgoing, hardworking, energetic, creative, and role models for other students,” Ms. Shea said.

During the 2020-21 school year, Mr. Morton said, he and Ms. Shea decided against selecting Senior Prefects because of the uncertainty around what spirit activities would be feasible with the pandemic’s safety precautions.

In his 20 years of selecting Senior Prefects, Mr. Morton said, he has striven to select a diverse set of students to better represent the US.

“I have always been trying to get a wide variety of personalities and interests and balance between the various genders to make it as eclectic and appealing of a group as possible, as opposed to just one type of student.”

Mr. Morton said he values working closely with the Senior Prefects to organize events and activities as it provides another facet to his job.

“For someone in my position, working directly with students is key, so it’s an invaluable group of people because it reminds me that my job isn’t about just sitting behind the desk and taking attendance or disciplining students,” he said. “It’s about connecting with students and working hand in hand with students.”

While in past years, the selection process has taken place in the spring of the previous school year, this year, the Senior Prefects were chosen right before the school year, making for a chaotic transition into their work, Mr. Morton said.

“They had to hit the ground running. We selected them, and then we had them going. Then, they had to do spirit week and come up with the ideas and then promote spirit week, and that was all within the first two weeks that they were on the job.”

Senior Prefect Annie Stockwell ’22 said she hopes students will appreciate the importance of stepping away from academics from time to time to enjoy the presence of one another.

“The school is very focused on academics, which is really good. But also, I think it’s important to be able to have fun with each other. I think that’s something BB&N has lacked in, especially the past year.”

Senior Prefects hope to boost school spirit without overwhelming each student, she said.

“When there is more spirit in a community, it binds everybody together, which creates a better, stronger community,” Annie said.

Senior Prefect Nick Heisler ’22 enjoys representing the school community, he said, because he can introduce underclassmen to the spirit he was exposed to as an underclassman.

“I can play such a large role in the community and represent them as a whole,” Nick said. “Especially as a senior, it’s important for me to be engaged in my community as much as possible.”