Students and teachers become ‘pals’

December 2, 2009 — by Maggie Lin

“Pumpkin stress balls? That is so cool! My secret pal is awesome.” This was just one of the excited responses from the first Secret Pals event held on Oct. 30.

Secret Pals is a year-long event hosted by the ASB that is open to all students and teachers who want to exchange gifts at designated times of the year.

ASB President Haley Zarrin said,”It’s a chance for students and teachers to get to know each other on a more personal level instead of only on an academic level.”

Secret Pals is similar to Secret Santa in almost every way but one. Instead of being completely anonymous, it is only anonymous to the teachers as the students chose the teachers they wanted to be “Pals” with.

“We got the idea from previous ASBs and thought we should do it to improve ASB-staff relations,” said Zarrin.

Although the goal is to forge stronger relationships between students and staff, only time will tell if this is an effective way of bonding.

Senior ASB secretary Cindy Chang, the main coordinator of the event, worked closely with assistant principal Karen Hyde to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Chang’s job was to send out slips to teachers asking if they wanted to participate and for them to fill out the attached from. After compiling the list, students signed up and Chang was in charge of typing them up and distributing all of the slips.

Although it sounds simple enough, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“Coordinating who gets what teacher was hard because not a lot of people signed up at first,” Chang said. “It was also difficult making sure all the kids had slips from their teachers and vice versa. We wanted it to be as secret as possible so we had to type everything out or copy the slips over to disguise students’ handwriting.”

The event had a rough start but was a success.

“The best part was seeing it actually work,” said Chang. “It was pretty neat seeing all the gifts piled up in Ms.Hyde’s office. It felt like Christmas.”

It was just as successful from a “Pals” point of view.

Zarrin said, “It’s fun finding them a gift and also how we know who they are, but they don’t know who we are. It makes it more interesting.”

On the note of Christmas holidays, Chang has also lined up around five more gift exchanges. Upcoming gifting times include Christmas,Valentine’s Day and a few non-holidays. She is hoping to plan one during the spring as well as the end of the year.

“I’m excited about figuring out a gift to get and seeing what the teacher gets me because it’ll be holiday themed. It’s a good bonding experience,” said Zarrin.