FLIGHT: Flying in a new direction

Nadine Haddad, Director of Social Media; Staff Writer

The sudden disappearance of Milton’s FLIGHT program last year was a mystery. As it turns out, however, the program was just a work in progress taking a temporary leave to better itself for the future generations of freshmen.

As upperclassmen may recall, FLIGHT used to be a peer mentorship program led within classrooms, focused on addressing the social, emotional and academic needs of Eagles. Back in 2017, 150 Eagle Leaders helped freshmen get acclimated with the high school environment. 

Although its objective is the same, the program is being conducted differently this year. 

The amount of Eagle Leaders (this year known as FLIGHT Ambassadors) that were registered to serve as peer mentors overwhelmed administrators. “There wasn’t a job for everybody … so we really narrowed it down,” explains Assistant Principal Cristina Mallon. Therefore, numbers dropped from over 100 Eagle Leaders to 40 committed FLIGHT Ambassadors. 

Although Mallon and a few other administrators redesigned the program two summers ago, they “did not get an opportunity for students to volunteer.” They decided to go about the participation process in another way; administrators examined each counselor’s list of students and their behavioral records, academics and athletics.

They then invited students to participate, but not many students responded to these invitations. Thus, at the end of April last school year, FLIGHT opened up a new application process for upperclassmen interested in helping new students at Milton. 

The meaning of the acronym, FLIGHT, changed from Friendly, Learning, Investing, Giving, Helpful and Thriving to Freshmen, Learning, Instructional, Guiding and Helpful Tools. In order to live up to these new expectations, FLIGHT Ambassadors, administrators and freshmen assemble in the auditorium every other week during the first semester, rather than during study hall every other day as students used to. Mallon adds that this change — expanding lunch from 30 minutes to a full hour and accommodating the FLIGHT schedule accordingly — is in the freshmen’s best interest.

Mallon reveals that at the last meeting, administrators and Ambassadors walked students through checking infinite campus and keeping up with their grades. During orientation, they toured freshmen around the school and hosted a seminar on being mindful of the demographics of the building. Each FLIGHT Ambassador also contributes to the meetings by providing a tip for the freshmen. “Some of [the freshmen] return to the administrators and explain how helpful the tips are,” Mallon says.

For those interested in applying to become a FLIGHT Ambassador next year, applications will be open at the end of the school year (most likely in April) to all rising sophomores, juniors and seniors committed to assimilating timeless leadership principles.