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The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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More than a friendship bracelet: The need for inclusivity at an all-girls school

On Thursday, September 7, Xavier girls make friendship bracelets and signs for the new Gator-Aide club. This was the first meeting and over 150 girls showed up. (Photo courtesy of Abigail DeLeon)
On Thursday, September 7, Xavier girls make friendship bracelets and signs for the new Gator-Aide club. This was the first meeting and over 150 girls showed up. (Photo courtesy of Abigail DeLeon)

Freshman year feels like a long time ago. Then, I thought that eating alone near the stairs by the Steel, or by the blue picnic chairs outside Fitzgerald Hall made me an outsider. 

It didn’t.  

Attending an all-girls school, I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in or branch out. Like most high schoolers, it was different and frightening moving to a big campus. It ended up all working out after freshman year, because I was able to find my place with real friends, and that is something truly rewarding. 

Now as a junior, I was curious when I first saw the “xcpgatoraide” Instagram profile. “Come and make new friends while making friendship bracelets!” it said on the Instagram caption.  

I was skeptical at the idea that girls would willingly sign up to join this club because it sounded too cliché, like something out of an early 2000s Rom-Com. 

However, as I was walking up the PAC steps and saw the massive turnout for the Gator-Aide meeting, I speculated that there was something more to the club than meets the eye. 

Gator Aide is a new club at Xaiver that focuses on inclusivity, encouragement and sisterhood within friendships. Current staff and former graduates, Abbie Arnold ‘17 and Abigail DeLeon ‘18  introduced this club because they wanted to make Xavier a more inclusive and friendly environment. 

DeLeon began to talk about the primary motto and meaning about the club, and then girls started to gather. As more and more girls came into the room, we all squished together. We were shoulder to shoulder in an upstairs PAC. DeLeon explained that the Gator-Aide mission is to make a friendship bracelet for yourself and make a friendship bracelet for someone you wouldn’t talk to, and then give it to them.  

The idea of making a friendship bracelet to uplift and connect with each other is nothing new. The tradition dates back to the Chinese and indigenous people in Central and South America. Placing a friendship bracelet on the wrist was a symbol of dedication, honor and love.   

The surge of friendship bracelets  was brought back by Taylor Swift. In her song, “You’re On Your Own, Kid” from her “Midnights” studio album, Swift’s lyrics stating, “So make the friendship bracelets / Take the moment and taste it …” sparked a huge success. As “The Eras Tour” began, Swifties took it upon themselves and started making friendship bracelets, trading them with one another. 

“The Eras Tour” was also the primary inspiration for the club. DeLeon said, “I love that the tour created an immediate bond with many people around the world and inspired me to bring that concept of a friendship bracelet in one interaction to Xavier.” 

I, however, was wrong about Gator-Aide and their message. I thought that only freshmen and sophomores would show up to the meeting; however, all different grades showed up. Approximately 130 girls signed up and over 150 girls attended the meeting for Gator-Aide. I speculated that the eye-catching pink posts and the Taylor Swift music played in the background changed their minds, and frankly, it also changed mine. 

DeLeon, head moderator and social media creator, recalled that her time at Xavier was a wonderful experience academically, but there were times when she felt like she didn’t fit in with her friend group. 

“I kind of have a soft spot for girls when they are sitting alone. I don’t want any girl to ever feel left out for like they aren’t included; it’s not right.” 

This was the moment I had a change of heart about the club. There are times when I could relate to this concept myself. Back in freshman year, there was a group of girls who I thought were my friends but it turns out they really weren’t. I was a third-wheel sometimes. Thankfully, I had the courage and self-respect to find better friends, and I did. 

When I see girls who are sitting alone, it takes me back to that time where I was in their position. I’ve heard girls say, “She has friends, she’s just working on homework or something, that’s why she’s alone.” Gator-Aide’s mission is to do the complete opposite. Its mission is to invite every girl who feels alone and make her feel valued at Xavier.  

The Gator-Aide club also focuses on mental health. DeLeon said, “This club is also about being a cheerleader for your friends and the people around you but most importantly one for yourself.” 

Messages like these are what brought people into the meeting. From the outside it looks too good to be true but it turns out that this club is honestly exactly what it seems. 

Standing up for myself and leaving a friendship behind that didn’t really value me made me become friends with girls who truly care for me. 

Arnold, co-moderator said, “A rewarding thing about being in a girls’ community is there is a shared experience of ‘How am I going to make friends?’ going around us even if we just don’t all know it.”  

Keira Reckling ‘26 said, “At the first meeting, everyone was making friendship bracelets. There were all different grades there too. There were a few familiar faces but there were some girls that I had never talked to before and I connected with them.” 

Gator-Aide has helped me learn that a friendship bracelet is so much more than a string with beads. It’s a representation of how much your friendship has come and how far it’s going to go. Now I’m able to see that this club isn’t just for girls who want to scream the lyrics of Taylor Swift songs and act like they’re at “The Eras Tour.”  It’s bigger than that. 

However, I suppose Taylor Swift was right about one thing, “Everything you lose is a step you take / So make the friendship bracelets / Take the moment and taste it.”  

What really is inclusivity? Find out at Gator-Aide’s next meeting on Monday, October 2, in Founders Hall A and B.  

You can decide if it’s worth meeting someone new. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. But if you don’t, you’ll miss out.

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