Why were all the students scurrying towards San Marino High School’s Webb Theatre during last Friday’s lunch hour and why were they smiling?
Why “Linksgiving,” of course.
New to the school calendar, “Linksgiving” was organized by the school’s Link Crew, a program that assists freshmen in transitioning from middle school to high school and helps foster a positive school climate. Friday’s attendees enjoyed popcorn while watching the animated film ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.’
Link Crew’s larger purpose is an orientation that takes place shortly before school begins in August. This year, the group has 80 trained juniors and seniors who assist in the transitioning process for incoming freshmen. Friday’s event was one of several that take place throughout the school year.
“The Link Crew coordinators organize events to bring together the leaders and freshmen outside of the classroom for ongoing ‘social follow ups’ throughout the year to continue to build connections, increase student engagement and have fun,” said Laura Ives, a counselor in charge of student support and intervention at San Marino High School.
Ives, who is coordinator of the Link Crew along with SMHS teacher Courtney Rushing, said the 2-year-old program has been a success.
“Since we started this program last year, we have expanded to include 20 more leaders, we are adding one more trained adult coordinator and we saw an increase in the number of freshman attending orientation,” said Ives. “We gave a survey to get feedback on the Link Crew orientation and about 80% of the freshman indicated that the orientation was helpful in easing the stress of starting high school.”
Link Crew members Justin Chang and Thomas Tsai, both seniors, feel the group has had a positive impact on the school community.
“I am very grateful that I joined Link Crew,” said Thomas, who is also ASB treasurer. “This program was not around when I was a freshman, but being a Link leader for these two years has been a great experience. I’m glad that I am able to assist freshmen with their transition into high school and help SMHS take a step towards a more welcoming environment.”
Justin, the ASB representative to the school board, agrees.
“I think Link Crew is one of the most important organizations on campus, and is pivotal in getting the freshman class integrated into our Titan Body,” Justin said. “If we nurture the freshmen and make them feel welcome, I firmly believe they will do the same when they’re upperclassmen, and hence start a cycle of positivity. I have extremely high hopes for what Link Crew can become at SMHS and am honored to have been a part of the inaugural year, and a member this year as well.”
Ives said that attendance at this Friday’s Linksgiving was substantially larger than a year ago, and looks forward to the group’s next event.
“Cocoa & Cram,” she said, enthusiastically. “On Dec. 14 in the College and Career Center. Finals preparation for freshmen.”
No doubt that will be well-attended, too.