HHS Link Crew Supports Incoming Freshmen

Brooke Lehrman, Copy Editor

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Going to school in a new building with brand new faces all around is very stressful and difficult, and Hershey High School (HHS) commenced a new program to make it easier for the freshmen.

Senior Ainsley Perry (right) hangs out with freshman Camryn Yingling (left) in the library on October 30, 2019. As a Link Leader, Perry is friends with many underclassmen and helps them with any questions they may have about high school. (Broadcaster/Brooke Lehrman)

HHS decided to launch a freshman transition program called Link Crew. The goal of Link Crew is to make freshmen feel comfortable in high school and to connect them with upperclassmen. Long term, HHS wants the attendance of freshmen to increase, their grades improved, and a better sense of community throughout the high school.

Michelle Kindt, a French teacher, and Alaric Krause, a life skills support teacher, are both Link Crew advisors that believe something needed to be done in order to give freshmen a positive start to their high school career. Their hope is that Link Crew takes part in making an overall better school environment by connecting the freshmen with upperclassmen.

Senior Link Leaders Alex Held and Ainsley Perry both want to help the freshmen look forward to and feel more welcome about being in high school. They hope that Link Crew is going to be the driving factor for this goal.

“I want to make the freshmen feel comfortable coming into the high school and being excited, not nervous,” said Held.

Held said she did not have a positive experience when she came into the high school. She hopes to make a difference in the freshmen’s high school experience by being a Link Leader.

According to Held, “I wanted to make it special for the incoming freshmen to meet new people and see familiar faces in the hall when they’re walking and just be willing to talk to anyone.”

In high school, the social standard is vastly different from what is expected and accepted in middle school. It is important that the freshmen are exposed to these learning situations sooner rather than later; therefore, the Link Leaders are meant to give freshmen various tips and tricks that will help them throughout high school both academically and socially. Link Crew advisor Krause sees that as a very important aspect of the Link Crew program in HHS.

“The purpose is to get the freshmen to become more comfortable with the school and the different social/societal nuances they don’t expect,” said Krause.

Before the first day of school, the Link Leaders had to be trained in order for Link Crew to be successful for the freshman transition process. Training occurred for one day after the previous school year ended, and twice in August before Bridge Day, a day for freshmen to get a feel for the high school before the school year begins. Throughout the training, Link Leaders and advisors alike found flaws in each activity, and improvements were made when need be.

“We trained for two full days in August, about seven hours each time, and we went through what are going to do with the freshmen one day,” said Held, “so that way we can experience how it feels to be doing that and other ways to include people.” 

Link Crew first started on the west coast has been helping freshmen in many schools across the United States for over 27 years, and the data shows that having Link Crew is highly beneficial for the student body in a multitude of ways.

After incorporating Link Crew at North Farmington High School, in Farmington Hills, Michigan, there was a “38% reduction in freshman Saturday School Suspension”, a “30% reduction in unexcused freshman absences,” and a “19% reduction in freshmen who earned Fs,” according to The Boomerang Project. Although these numbers may seem small, they certainly make a difference in the long run.

“Honestly enjoy the time you have. It flies,” said Held about high school, “Meet new people, you’re going to have new people in every class, and your friends aren’t always going to be with you.”