Link Leaders prepare to welcome, transition new students for 2022-2023 school year

June 7, 2022


Photo submitted by Kathy Meyer

Link Leaders are put into groups with a theme they have for their groups of freshmen. Together they tour the school and do group activities.

The transition from a middle school to a high school is a big one people have to go through and Link Leaders are there to help it run smoothly. Link Leaders have prepared to welcome new freshmen to the 2022-2023 school year, and they have planned how they are going to welcome and help transition new students to the school.

“Orientation prioritizes just trying to feel comfortable and feels there’s a sense of belonging. We want all of our students to feel like they belong. They have a purpose here at our school. They have a group of staff members that want them to be here that support them, and really allow them to explore the school in a safe way and feel comfortable. So that they can be successful in academics and athletics and the arts and our clubs, just our social connections with friends,” health teacher Erin Nickleby said.

Link Leaders are positive role models for incoming freshmen, they have the power to show students the way the school works, and how it functions and set the tone for the school. Freshmen become sophomores, then juniors and seniors, and the first year at high school will set the base for all their other years. They need to have established good habits and feel safe at school, and Link Leaders are there to show them the first steps in doing so.

“I’m definitely excited to get them interested in all the different clubs and activities and to just share my personal experiences that I’ve had with high school and like give them tips and tricks,” junior Kyle Och said.

New freshmen bring a lot to high schools, such as their excitement and energy for starting somewhere new with a lot more resources and possible outcomes for them. Link Leaders want to help calm their nerves and push them to use the school’s resources, facilities and opportunities provided.

I want to show them what they can all do. That high school actually gives you a lot of opportunities that you can use to your full advantage

— Heaven Ritzer

Link Crew will be welcoming about 600 new freshmen this year and there will be a lot of planning involved. Freshmen are often worried about coming to a new and very big school, there will be a lot of questions and Link Leaders are ready to help.

“I think they will be most worried about homework level and homework in general. Even though it’s not that bad,” Och said. “But I would advise them most to respect their teachers and participate in class when they can because teachers really appreciate that.”

Link Crew has already planned multiple ice breakers and has multiple meeting dates to prepare more ways to help incoming freshmen. The goal is for Link Crew is to make a connection with the freshmen so in the hallways they see a “familiar and friendly face, they will know they have a group of supportive staff and feel comfortable in the hallways of the school,” Nickleby explained.

“You’re all in an opportunity to meet new people.  So we find a lot of anxiety and stress is about finding friends and then figuring out where your classes are so that you’re not lost on that first real day of school,” Nickleby added.

Link Leaders want to set up the freshmen to be successful in academics, athletics, arts, clubs and social connections with friends. The Link Leaders bring a lot of “personality that the ninth graders will connect with” described Ritzer, and altogether a lot of experience is brought to the table to help freshmen.

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    William CadenheadNov 3, 2022 at 8:29 am

    I think LINK is a beneficial program; it helps new students get organized and learn more effectively. I loved the program when I first arrived here. It really formed a bond between the upper class and newer students and the group you are assigned.