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Link Crew applications open for current sophomores and juniors

Tenth and eleventh graders can sign up for a program to aid incoming freshmen next year
Tansy Velush
“Link Crew is meant to be a way for [upperclassmen] to help ninth graders with the transition to high school,” Laura Lehni, language arts teacher, ASB advisor and Link coordinator, said

Link Crew is a school volunteer program that supports students entering high school. Current sophomores and juniors can sign up to be Link Leaders, upperclassmen that welcome and connect with the freshmen, mentoring them throughout the year and making the adjustment to high school less daunting.  

“Link Crew is meant to be a way for [upperclassmen] to help ninth graders with the transition to high school,” Laura Lehni, language arts teacher, ASB advisor and Link coordinator, said. “To help them find a smaller group of folks that they can be with on the first day. To help answer questions and get some of those initial high school [fears] out of the way.”  

According to Piper Obenauer, junior and Link Leader, Link groups consist of two leaders and about 10 freshmen. The Link Leaders greet the freshmen on the first day, give them tours of the building, check in with them throughout the year and act as a space to ask questions and get information about events. 

Link Crew creates a support system for new ninth graders, who may not know many people when going into high school. It also teaches them the ropes and helps to guide them through the new experiences that they’ll have.  

“We see Link Crew as this cool thing that can help students find connections,” Lehni said. “For the ninth graders to have upperclassmen that they can talk to or ask questions of… [and] get connected to other ninth graders as well.”  

While the main focus is helping freshmen, Link Crew can also bring together upperclassmen, allowing them to find like-minded people who are also eager to help.  

“It’s a great opportunity for you to find your sense of community,” Kian Vae’ena, senior and Link Crew commissioner, said. “Possibly some of your closest friends or even the closest mentors you might have.”  

According to Lehni, Link Crew has plans to expand beyond the first day of school for next year. There will hopefully be monthly hangouts during lunch time for Leaders to have snacks and connect with their freshmen groups. Link coordinators are discussing bringing the groups together before large school events such as Homecoming and Winter Spirit Week.  

While current Link Leaders have received over 30 service hours for being part of the Crew, increasing the amount of commitment next year will likely also cause that to increase.  

“You get a lot of service hours,” Lehni said. “It’s a volunteer-based organization [and] it’s a lot of time, but that recognition of your time is super important to us.” 

Link Crew is continuously adapting each year to make the transition to high school as smooth as possible for incoming freshmen. According to Luke Lysene, junior and current Link Leader, knowing someone who’s been at high school for a while and knows how things work can be useful and make it less overwhelming.  

“If you didn’t have a good experience [entering high school], then you know you can try to help make the experience better for people,” Lysene said. “If you did have a good experience, then you can help others feel the same.” 

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