Building Community: Mayfield Junior’s School Families Program

Gabriel Bohanec, Lauren Kezele, Mollie Baribault, Owen Lieb, David Johnson, Emeline Tolleson, Isabella Zirn and Trinity Partamian. Photo courtesy of MJS
Back row: Will Freeark, Violet Miller, Troy Bonde. Front: Lauren Mascarenhas, Meghan Garrity, Katie Bennett and Nicholas Sartor. Photo courtesy of MJS

“Who’s your first-grader?” “Your brother’s my fourth-grader!” Questions and comments like these might puzzle a newcomer to Mayfield Junior School, but MJS students and staff recognize the curiosity and exuberance sparked by the first meeting of School Families.

Beginning in early fall each year, eighth-graders at Mayfield are named heads of “School Families,” which consist of representatives from each grade, first through eighth. Each family unit also includes at least one teacher or staff member, though not to supervise so much as to participate from a slight distance while eighth-graders flex their leadership muscles and guide their younger peers through an ever-changing array of activities, from writing personal goals to telling silly jokes.

School Families meet Friday mornings and begin with a recitation, from memory, of the School Pledge, which includes these words: “I pledge. . . to respect and treat others as I want them to treat me, and to strive to be the best person God has created me to be.” Throughout the year, “family” members sit together at school masses, at Christmas each child is assigned to provide thoughtful gifts for needy members of real families at Good Shepherd Shelter, and in the spring, they compete together to win a School colors spirit competition, Blue and White Day.

School Families have long been a beloved part of the Mayfield community. Its purpose is to give real leadership opportunity to every eighth-grader, whether those more outgoing or who tend to let others take the spotlight. Founded in 1931 by the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, Mayfield aims to, “create a learning climate based on trust and reverence for the dignity and uniqueness of each person.” School Families help foster a community of familiarity and understanding and acceptance for all students, from the tallest to the smallest.

Mayfield Junior School, 405 S. Euclid Ave.  Pasadena, (626) 796-2774 or visit



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