A little after second period last September 16, 2015, the seniors were pulled out from their normal school activities to welcome the Grade 7 students to the high school community in a special event named ”你好学弟 (Nihao Xuedi),“ which is Mandarin for “Welcome, little brothers” (or shotis as they’re affectionately called in Fookien).
The event began with a short introduction by the high school principal, Ms. Aimee Apolinario, who discussed the importance of Cura Personalis (care for others) in the life of every Xaverian and challenged the seniors to live this out by being good ahias or big brothers to their younger shotis.
Students were matched according to mentoring groups, and afterwards, each senior was assigned to one or two Grade 7 shoti to take care of throughout the activities. After the matches were made and the pairs or triads introduced themselves, a special lunch followed where the seniors shared the lunch they brought with their Grade 7 partners. Both ahias and shotis shared stories, learning more about each other’s lives in the process.
After lunch, the batch was split into two groups. The first group was ushered to the classrooms for classroom bonding activities while the second batch participated in the activities at the high school gym.
In the classroom, students participated in a variety of games. These included: “Mingle Mingle,” a game where the game-master would shout a topic and the students would shout their favorite thing under that topic and then group together based on that; “Two Truths and One Lie,” a game where each person is asked to state three things about themselves, two of which are true and one of which is false, and the other players attempt to guess the lie; and “Blanket,” a game where the seniors and Grade 7 students were separated by a blanket and had to correctly guess the name of the person on the other side of the blanket once it was dropped.
Of course, these pre-prepared games did not stop the ahias and shotis from interacting through other means. Each class was also given the freedom to create their own games to increase the bond between the two batches–games like “Truth or Dare,” the Xaverian classic “Reload,” and the mind riddle “The Spirit of the Sound.”
Alongside the classroom games were the activities held in the high school gym, which involved an Amazing Race type contest between groups which focused on teamwork between the ahias and the shotis.
The games included “Beach Ball Tennis,” where teams played a modified version of tennis by launching an inflatable beach ball with a blanket; “Tugs Tugs,” a tug of war game where mentoring groups competed in a contest of strength; “Can You Steph Curry,” a three point shootout contest; “Quidditch,” a modified form of the fantasy sport where seniors and Grade 7 students attempted to throw balls into goalposts and catch a student acting as the Golden Snitch; “Huddle Trouble,” a game where mentoring groups were tied together and had to navigate an obstacle course in the shortest time possible; “Mime Me,” a game of group charades; “Chase the Rayquaza,” a game where two teams competed in an attempt to steal a “dragon’s tail” from each other; and “Jump Rope,” where groups had to reach a certain number of successful jumps to win. Each member of the overall winning team was awarded a gift certificate from Happy Lemon.
Following the games and the announcement of the victors were performances prepared by select students from both batches. These included singing and dancing by senior-year group R16, a powerful series of songs performed by Odilon Tan, and a kinetic performance by Dance X.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye. It was a sad moment for both the ahias and the shotis, but after reminding each other to keep in touch, they parted ways. Truly, it was an unforgettable experience that greatly strengthened the bonds between the ahias and shotis of Xavier School, welcoming the latter to the high school while teaching the former valuable lessons in their final year in Xavier.