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Seton’s got S.A.S.

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With the new year came a brand-new program for the students of Seton School in Manassas. Senior Advocates for Students, or S.A.S., is made up of 22 senior students assigned to different grades in the school. The seniors were tasked with making themselves available to the students in their assigned grade and encouraging unity within the class. The advocates chose the motto: “I am the vine;  you are the branches” (Jn 15:5). The students see themselves as the sunshine and the rain God can use to help the branches bear fruit.

Timothy Heisler, a teacher and dean of students, said he saw a great potential in the senior class to bring unity to the school and developed the idea of the S.A.S. around that goal. He said the group’s mission is to “bridge the gap between Seton grades, as well as between students and faculty, nurturing a charitable and connected day-to-day atmosphere within the school community.”

Last year, the junior class and S.A.S. team worked with Heisler during homeroom to flesh out and present this new program to Director of the School Robert Pennefather. The students discussed issues such as selecting the new members and ways these members could accomplish their new goal as advocates. Some of their ideas included a monthly lunch spent with the assigned class and monthly check-in meetings. Heisler interviewed those who wished to participate and choose which students would be a part of the team.

While there was great potential for this new program, there were also some initial concerns voiced by parents and teachers, including that the seniors might begin believing their role to be counselors. Heisler addressed this by stressing the difference between counselor and advocate with the team. They were there not to solve problems within the lives of the students, but to be a voice for others and support the community in the classroom. That ability to encourage the standard of love and community Seton has always strived for was the reason for the establishment of the Senior Advocates for Students.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021