Student Ambassador program revamps tours and applications

Jude Herwitz, Staff Writer

The Student Ambassador program has undergone changes in its membership applicability, application process, and tours since former Middle Division Head Robin Ingram and Director of Admissions Jason Caldwell have taken over leadership of the program,.

One of the largest changes to the program has been the elimination of eighth grade ambassadors, decreasing the size of the program.

“It got way too big, so with the natural fracture of Mr. Garrison leaving and me coming, Dr. Kelly, Mr. Caldwell, and Ms. Moreira made the decision, ‘Let’s shrink it a little,’” Ingram said. 

The program has decreased from around 171 ambassadors last year among five grades to 150 among four.

The switch allows more students per grade to be ambassadors, allowing the program to be more inclusive and eliminating some of the competition, Garrison said.

“We didn’t like saying no to so many students who just genuinely wanted to express a passion about the school to families and spent so much time going through the process to apply,” Registrar and former head of the Student Ambassador program Chris Garrison said.

The change also aims to reach a more diverse section of the student body and to make sure that mentors “represent the diversity of possibilities here, especially in the middle and upper divisions,” Ingram said.

Another major adjustment has been the elimination of applications for Ambassadors. Instead, grade deans and Admissions Office members will pick students whom they wish to invite to the program, Ingram said.

There were only 19 students invited to be Ambassadors this year, down from around 50 accepted applications in years past.

The goal of the decision was to reduce the competition around admission to the program, according to an email Ingram wrote to the Upper Division.

Young Joon Kim (12), one of the Student Ambassador Leaders this year, views his role as perhaps more important than previous leaders due to the transition and believes he and the other student leaders will be able to offer helpful experience, especially at open houses, he said. In addition to adjustments in program size, ambassadors will also need to contend with the new task of touring Lutnick Hall, which will require fitting the tour to a 45 minute period and knowledge of the new building. 

To account for the increased amount of space to cover, ambassadors will ask prospective families what their interests are and prioritize those while putting less emphasis on other areas, Ingram said.

Another strategy that may be used is to “walk and talk,” Lexi Levi (11) said. Although the campus was already large, the increased ground means that she will need to answer questions while moving instead of stopping for a in-depth answers, she said.

Ingram plans on having ambassadors teach each other about areas in which they themselves have a lot of experience so that each ambassador will be able to talk about the school as a whole, she said.