Every issue, the Eagle Edition looks through photos in the school’s archives and selects a moment to look back on.

A senior and her fifth grade buddy share lunch together outside ESD’s campus in 1982. The senior and fifth grade buddy program is an iconic and longstanding ESD tradition that has been a staple of the connection between middle and upper school for decades. Although the tradition was canceled for the first time due to the pandemic this year, the tradition will continue in the future.

“I have been involved with the fifth grade and senior buddy program since I have been at ESD, which has been 22 years,” Fifth Grade Dean Ellen Neill said. “My favorite memory is making Christmas ornaments and decorating the Christmas trees. Fifth graders and the seniors gather in the study commons [to] make the ornaments together as we listen to Christmas music… wearing ugly Christmas sweaters [and] eating candy canes. Nothing better!”

Neill said that the tradition has gone through very few changes over the years. However, the program is now meant to be more about camaraderie and community rather than academic discovery. 

“I remember interviewing and writing a biography about my buddy when I was in fifth grade for my English class,” alumnus Luke Logan ‘19 said. “But when I was a senior in high school, I had a lot more fun with the tradition, getting to eat and do projects with my little buddy.”

The program is widely regarded as one of ESD’s most valued traditions among students and alumni. It serves as a reminder for future classes that community, tradition and Father Swann’s legacy will always continue to be a part of our academic community. 

“The senior [and] fifth-grade buddy events represent what Father Swann instilled in our hearts that every child is made in the image of god,” Neill said. “When the fifth graders meet and see their buddies, it shows how important every child is at ESD.”

Our staff could not identify the names of the students pictured. We would love to find out! If you have any information regarding the students featured in the picture above, please email us at eagleedition@esdallas.org.

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