Link Crew comes through

By on September 4, 2019

Starting high school can be a tough transition.

So, on Tuesday, Aug. 27, incoming freshmen at Warwick High School got a great big welcome to their new school.

Some 250 teens from the Class of 2023 were welcomed by more than 65 juniors and seniors from Warwick High School’s Link Crew. The new freshmen even got to meet three of the potential facility dogs that will also be starting their first school year on Sept. 4.

As the incoming freshman arrived at the gym, they got a big welcome from the upperclassmen, who lined up like they were welcoming a sports team. With lots of cheers and high-fives, the younger students felt like superstars, thanks to the older students.

Then, as the freshmen sat in the bleachers in the gym, they got a “paws-up” from three enthusiastic dogs that may be among the facility dogs that will be beginning the school year with them.

Poppy, Carly, and Wally greeted the freshmen and made the rounds through the crowd, getting lots of pats and hugs from the students.

It was the perfect ice-breaker for the freshmen. The Link Crew members of the mentoring program wanted to make sure the younger students felt comfortable at their new school, and knew they had someone older to show them the ropes.

About 250 teens from the Class of 2023 were welcomed by more than 65 juniors and seniors from Warwick High School’s Link Crew. Photos by Laura Knowles.

 

Freshmen in the gym got a “paws-up” from three possible facility dogs that will be beginning the school year with them. Poppy greeted the new high school students and made the rounds through the crowd, getting lots of pats and hugs from the students.

 

Incoming freshmen met three enthusiastic dogs that may be among the facility dogs beginning the school year with them. Poppy, Carly, and Wally (above) greeted the newcomers.

 

Incoming Warwick freshman got a big welcome from the Link Crew upperclassmen, who lined up like they were welcoming a sports team.

 

“I remember when I was a freshman. Back then my biggest concern was about lunch,” said senior Luke Wealand. “I wanted to know where my classes would be, and where did I fit in. So I understand how they feel.”

Indeed, understanding how the cafeteria is set up, what the lunch choices are, and who to sit with were big concerns for incoming freshmen. They also wanted to know where their classes would be and how to get from class to class on time.

“That was on my mind when I was a freshman,” said senior Hannah Zartman. “You only have four minutes to get from class to class, and that was a challenge. Then you were hoping you would have friends in your classes.”

The biggest change for the freshmen is making the transition from being the oldest in the middle school to being the youngest in the high school.

Freshman Chris Stauffer, 15, is the oldest in his family, so he doesn’t have any siblings to guide him through the process. He was hoping to have the opportunity to walk through his schedule, so he knew exactly where he was going.

“I have two older siblings who went to the high school, so I have been around the school and I hope I won’t get lost my first day,” said freshman Ella Lucas, who plans to be involved with the high school’s Aevidum organization that helps with depression, building self-esteem, and prevention of teen suicide. She also wants to participate in Warwick’s track team.

“I think everyone just wants to find their place,” said Wealand.

And their second period Language Arts class.

The small group sessions that followed the big welcome were intended to help with way-finding at the high school. Freshmen could walk their schedules and know how to make their way from class to class in a school crowded with lots of new faces.

To ease that transition and make it a supportive one, the high school staff and Link Crew students put together the high energy, interactive program designed to help them feel welcomed and connected.

It was the seventh year for the Link Crew program, with junior and senior mentors giving the freshmen a helping hand during their first year of high school. They know that they can go to their older peers with issues that concern them, and the older students can guide them to the resources they might need.

“I know it was great for me,” said Zartman. “Now I want to help the freshmen feel welcomed.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *