Kariessentes student ambassadors represent The Barstow School student body and guide new families and students through their transition into the Barstow community. These ambassadors are loyal, knowledgeable, and outgoing students of the upper school, who help with open houses, family visits, and special events. Being a member of Kariessentes is a privilege, for the title comes with responsibilities. Kariessentes are not only well-versed in the history and traditions of Barstow, but are also knowledgeable in the school’s current events, curriculum, and student activities. Every month, Kariessentes are asked to come before and after school, in the evening, and on weekends to plan and discuss upcoming events. They work closely with the Admission Office, the Advancement Office, and the Assistant to the Head of School, and are headed by Mrs. Kellye Crockett.
For a typical Barstow open house, normally held on a weekend, Kariessentes arrive to campus bright and early to help faculty make last-minute preparations before the new families begin to pour in. This consists of running around the hallways to make sure everything is clean, organized, and in place. We assist the faculty in getting the commons ready because of its central role in open houses. Once the guests begin to arrive, the student ambassadors are already standing next to the entrance to greet them, make conversation, guide them to the information desk where they sign in and receive important documents, and answer any questions that they may have. Once families have signed in and received their documents, the rest of the schedule fluctuates depending on the specific open house. If the open house starts at a later time, Kariessentes guide the families straight from the information desk to the cafeteria to eat lunch. This is yet another opportunity for ambassadors to answer questions and initiate conversation with as many families as possible. On other occasions, ambassadors guide families to the Raymond B. White Auditorium for an information session or around the school to show them their classes. No matter what, Kariessentes are always representing the entire Barstow student body.
Another responsibility unique to Kariessentes is managing the front desk during specific times of the day. In previous years, students would work the front desk during flex. This year, Kariessentes are expected to sacrifice a handful of lunches throughout the year to sit at the front desk while the front desk manager eats lunch. The student manages the flow of visitors, students, and faculty into the building, and answers calls made to the Barstow School.
The more the ambassador can relate to the new student, put his or herself in their shoes, and provide an honest and real student perspective, the more the student and his or her family will feel at home. I once sparked conversation with a new Indian student going into his freshman year, and hit it off with him and his family. We talked about the difficulties that come with blending cultures and how Barstow students’ intimate relationships with each other help to alleviate those difficulties from my own experiences. I related to being a new student to Barstow going into my freshman year of high school and having an interest in pursuing medicine.
“The vision for the future of Kariessentes is to build on a long legacy of welcoming visitors to our community. We are excited to help the upper school Kariessentes establish middle and lower school Kariessentes groups and continue to support the Admission and Advancement offices.” – Kellye Crockett