Third year of upperclassmen participating
By Bert Lehman
Incoming freshmen to Clintonville High School received help from upperclassmen in making the transition to high school life.
Freshman orientation was Thursday, Sept. 1, and they were the only high school students to have school that day. To help them become acquainted with high school, juniors and seniors who are members of the Clintonville Link Crew also attended school that day to greet the incoming freshman.
“It’s really an opportunity for older kids to hang out with younger kids, build some connections and make high school feel like not such a scary place,” said Erin Howe, Link Crew advisor, along with Lindsay Davis.
Howe described the relationships being built as those similar to a big brother or big sister.
“There are two link leaders for every 8-10 freshmen,” Howe said. “Every freshman is assigned to two upperclassmen that they know they can go to or rely on. There is also a tutoring component to that that kind of operates on an as needed basis.”
To help welcome incoming freshmen, members of Link Crew decorate the gym in a festive atmosphere.
“As soon as the freshmen walk in we have a spirit line that they walk through,” Howe said. “As soon as the doors open for freshmen at 8 a.m. there is a long line of around 20 Link Crew leaders lined up cheering and music is blaring. It’s something to pump them up.”
Incoming freshmen have no idea this type of introduction to high school is awaiting them. What is their reaction?
They’re kind of rolling their eyes but they are smiling,” Howe said. “They’re always smiling. You can see that they’re having fun.”
Even though this was the third year of upperclassmen helping with freshman orientation, Howe said it’s still a learning process.
“I think it’s good to be able to get them out of the comfort zone to make them realize that high school is going to hopefully be better than what they anticipated.”
After being greeted by Link Crew members, freshmen play a few games like Simon Says to begin the day. Activities designed to help freshmen get to know each other follows. Students also tour the school and meet in classrooms for discussions in smaller groups. The afternoon consists of freshmen going through their schedules.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten is it’s a much better process because upperclassmen are involved,” Howe said.
Before upperclassmen were involved only teachers were in the school with freshmen the first day. When the second day of school arrived, Howe said freshmen went through some culture shock when all the students were present.
She added that Link Crew leaders are supposed to also support freshmen outside of school.
“I think it’s been really good for the climate of the school,” Howe said.
This year’s Link Crew leaders were the first to have gone through freshman orientation when they were freshmen, in which upperclassmen were involved.
“I think that enthusiasm is spreading and this is becoming the norm of how we do things here,” Howe said.