Introducing the Big Sib Chairs 2023-2024

On Wednesday, Match 15, the new Big Sib chairs for the 2023-2024 school year were elected.

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By Ma myat Kyaw

Juniors Kyle Hon Chan, Erica Liu, Eugene Park, Bishesh Shah, and Alex Zheng were chosen as the 2023-2024 Big Sib Chairs on March 15 by seniors and outgoing chairs Sabiha Amin, Elicia Chau, Sukanya Ferguson, Efe Kilic, and Ava Rem. The chairs were selected for their immense passion and leadership both within the Big Sib program as well as in the wider Stuyvesant community.

The Big Sib organization at Stuyvesant aims to connect incoming freshmen with upperclassmen to help freshmen transition into high school. The organization is run by a board of leaders known as the Big Sib Chairs and is orchestrated by groups of dedicated juniors and seniors who are each responsible for leading a homeroom. The Big Sibs are responsible for regulating Camp Stuy, an orientation for incoming freshmen that is held in August, as well as holding other events throughout the school year to create bonds with their Little Sibs.

To select the new chairs, the outgoing chairs put extensive thought into finding people who met their unique expectations. “[Big Sib Chairs] are the first faces incoming freshmen see, the first heads of a major organization that incoming students will meet: we are expected to be the ultimate role models,” Chau said in an e-mail interview. “We read through each written application in depth before we conducted interviews for all applicants. Post-interviews, we discussed extensively what we were looking for in chairs and who most closely aligned what we were looking for.”

Chairs were ultimately selected based on both their capacity to be a role model for the younger generation at Stuyvesant and their ability to work well together. “We sought out chairs who we could tell were genuinely invested in the Big Sib Program and wanted to have a larger impact on future generations of Stuy students, while also looking for a collective group of students with diverse interests and personalities that would mesh well and give Big Sibs and Little Sibs a well-rounded example of how a leader should be,” Rem said in an e-mail interview. 

Another major factor for the chair selection was in their ability to facilitate clear communication. “Communication runs through various different lines, whether it be with your co-chairs, passing information on to homeroom leaders and Big Sibs, keeping up with administration, or simply connect[ing] with Little Sibs,” Ferguson said.

While selection was a difficult process, the outgoing Chairs are confident in their choices. “Passionate. Communicative. Assertive. Adaptable. Unique. Each of the five chairs we’ve selected exhibit these imperative traits that we believe would successfully allow them to fulfill the role of being a Big Sib Chair. They each come from unique backgrounds, where they’ve taken on the necessary skill sets of a Big Sib Chair, proving they are worthy of this position,” Amin said.

The new Big Sib Chairs seemed to have a positive reflection about their interviews. “The interview was in Ms. Pedrick’s office, and all five of the chairs and sometimes Ms. Pedrick [were] sitting in the room and [though] that might have been overwhelming, it felt welcoming. Honestly, I felt very comfortable talking in front of all five of them […] They went into more personal matters like what’s your favorite dessert, who’s your twin or opposite, and all of that just made it more conversational and took a lot of stress off the whole interview part,” Shah said.

For the Chairs, one major motivation for applying were the skills and values they gained from their unique passions and extracurricular activities. “[My activities] all have something to do with mentoring and teaching. I help run a tutoring program [and] tutor for [the] SHSAT to help prepare middle schoolers. I run a club where I teach lessons about how to play Tetris,” Liu said. “I’ve been drawn to making lesson plans and this has manifested into some love for seeing other people thrive which is [necessary for] Big Sib programs.”

While the new Big Sib chairs have only had a few days to meet together since they were chosen, they have already been able to collaborate on new ideas, such as a revitalization of the Big Sib Instagram. “An idea I had for the future was Big Sib Instagram takeovers. We have a Big Sib Instagram and it’s active, but I think it can be more active and can be used to get a lot of involvement, and that can work in tandem with the Big Sib Fair [so that] we can get more involvement,” Chan said.

Park expanded on this idea, suggesting a Big Sib close friends group. “One of my ideas to better the program was to use social media just like [Chan], and have a Big Sib Instagram close friends and we’d add all the Big Sib Instagram accounts there,” Park said. 

Overall, the new Big Sib chairs are looking forward to leading the Big Sib organization for the 2023-2024 year. As Big Sib chairs, they believe that along with their time-management skills, motivation, and enthusiasm to help underclassmen, their teamwork will help them succeed. “We’ve gotten a really good head start because we’ve all clicked with each other and knew each other very well,” Chan said. “That’s what is most important: working as a team for the future of this program.”