HomeSchools & YouthLink Crew Is Still Making Freshmen Feel Welcome

Link Crew Is Still Making Freshmen Feel Welcome

TIME TO SHINE: Link Crew advisors Courtney Rushing and Laura Ives rally the troops at a recent training. Gaby Yonarta Photo

It’s that time of year again, when a class of almost 300 freshmen—most from nearby Huntington Middle School—continue to their next level of education at San Marino High School. Link Crew, an organization that specializes in aiding freshmen and out-of-district students transition to a new school, recruits SMHS upperclassmen to serve as leaders who trained on Monday, August 6, and Tuesday, August 7, to help the new students adjust to a hectic high school life.

In its fourth year at San Marino High School and in its second incarnation (Link Crew had a brief run at SMHS in the early 2000s), Link Crew is a nationally recognized, student led leadership program which helps freshman ease into high school by providing a warm welcome.

Through the Link Crew program, ninth graders are paired with junior and senior leaders who have been carefully selected to serve as positive role models, emphasizing strong relationships through activities that promote connection. Link Crew is built on the belief that students can help students succeed.

This year, the Link Crew leaders consisted of approximately 70 juniors and seniors who applied to join the program. They are expected to perform group activities on Orientation Day, Friday, August 10, with the incoming class, while also easing them into their first school year at SMHS.

Starting at 8:30 in the morning, Link Crew coordinators Laura Ives, a counselor at SMHS, and Courtney Rushing, ASB coordinator and business teacher, led training in Dingus Memorial Fieldhouse. Link Crew coordinator Robbin McCullough, media arts teacher, was unable to participate in training and will not be at Orientation Day due to family obligations.

Despite the one hundred degree temperatures and the absence of McCullough, Link Crew coordinators and leaders trained for six hours over two days. Divided into six groups, the leaders engaged in activities to learn each other’s names and interests at school. These included “Team Juggling,” in which leaders pass a ball around in a circle and call out the name of the next person who catches it, and “Lifestory,” in which leaders share six facts about their personal or school life.

Afterwards, leaders were broken into pairs to lead groups of eight to ten students on Friday. The pairs painted posters, welcoming the freshmen to SMHS, and planned the props, such as sunglasses or candy, to give to their groups.

Reflecting on his experience, “I will use my Link Crew training to help out freshmen around campus and make sure they have a great experience at school events,” senior Jonathan Tsai said.

Come Friday, leaders will greet the freshmen in the gym and play the games with their groups in classrooms. They will also share their high school experience and the important skills and information needed for the next four years of their life. Then, leaders will walk the new students through a campus tour and registration, picking up schedules, textbooks, and photo IDs.

The first school activities for Link Crew leaders to invite their groups to are the first Titan football game and Icebreakers dance on Friday, August 17.

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