For 15 years, Seton Hall Preparatory School and Academy360 have shared a special bond which brings together students from both schools for socialization, fun and friendship.
Established in 1856, Seton Hall Prep is a Catholic college preparatory school serving young men of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Begun as “Autism Big Brother,” the Spectrum Big Brothers program is part of the campus ministry to help the students develop leadership qualities and learn how community service can make a difference in their and other’s lives.
The eight-week sessions take place in both the fall and spring, with the Seton Hall students journeying to Academy360 Upper School each Tuesday. During their time together, the students participate in an expansive list of activities: sports and games, cooking, photography and more, under the supervision of Acadmey360’s staff. Beyond all of these “things to do,” the time together creates all-important connections.
Spectrum Big Brothers and A360: Photo gallery at bottom of page
The Academy360 students who take part in the program enjoy the opportunity to mix with peers from outside of the school circle and spend time with new “buddies.” Though the Seton Hall students aren’t individually assigned to program participants, the growing familiarity of one-to-one interactions creates real opportunities for building friendships.
Leanne Hesse, who coordinates the program on A360’s behalf, calls the program invaluable for the A360 participants, and notes how the young men from Seton Hall serve as wonderful role models for our students in need of community contact.
Sharon Rondinella of the prep school’s Campus Ministry believes the Spectrum Big Brothers experience is an eye-opener for their students as well. In an interview with the school news site, she says “It’s also a benefit for our students to be able to share some of their own talents,” and that taking part in service groups is an important way to share those talents with the community. In addition to Academy360, the group also works with Camp New Day, founded by Vincent McMahon, and holds sports camps on their campus.
The 15 prep students who take part in each eight-week session can count their service hours towards graduation or to become a Knight of Setonia, a religious organization within the school. But most importantly, the service program teaches about the wide variety of ways people interact and behave, both on and off of the spectrum.
We thank Seton Hall Prep for their years of dedication to our students and the fun, friendship and acceptance they bring into their lives.