All Cate students have a faculty advisor who serves as their primary guide and counselor throughout their years at Cate. In addition to the support offered by teachers, dorm parents, and coaches, the advisory system serves as a formal assurance that every student receives ongoing personal care and guidance. Students meet with their advisors at least once a week, sit with them during assemblies, and see them informally each day around campus. Advisors keep track of students’ academic performance and their general well-being. They open their homes to their advisees and take them on group activities, sometimes to the beach, to a nearby bowling center, or out to dinner. Advisors are there to cheer up a homesick student, celebrate an aced exam or team victory, help students manage their time, and provide a comfortable place for their advisees to share their thoughts and concerns. By staying in touch with parents by phone and email and through twice-yearly formal letters, advisors make certain that parents are closely involved in their children’s lives. Parents are encouraged to call their children’s advisors with any questions or concerns at any time throughout the year.
Robert Bonning has been at Cate since 1975, currently chairs the Science Department, and is a much-loved teacher and coach. Of his many roles at the School, Mr. Bonning particularly enjoys being a faculty advisor. “Helping students to manage the challenges – the failures as well as the successes – that are part and parcel of being an adolescent in today’s world is especially rewarding and fulfilling,” he says. According to one of Mr. Bonning’s advisees, “Sometimes the best part of having an advisor is just knowing that he’s there for you if you need him. I see Mr. Bonning all the time. It helps to know that I can find him if something is bothering me or if I just want to take a break.”
“Sometimes the advising is little more than pointing a freshman in the right direction and then trying to stay out of the way for the next three years,” says Mr. Bonning. “Occasionally, advising takes on the role of parenting a student while he or she is here on the Mesa, and in these cases the work that advisors do with parents is every bit as meaningful as the advising of the student.”
"...the work that advisors do with parents is every bit as meaningful as the advising of the student.”