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NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson The upperclassmen members of the Link Crew welcome about 300 incoming freshmen to La Salle-Peru Township High School on Tuesday for freshmen orientation day. The Link Crew’s goal is to make sure the freshmen have a successful transition to high school.
When you’re a brand-new freshman at La Salle-Peru Township High School, the new surroundings can feel overwhelming. That’s where the Link Crew steps in to save the day.
That’s what the incoming freshmen discovered Tuesday at orientation.
But who are the Link Crew, and what do they do?
“We get all these kids coming into this huge school,” said Rob Clydesdale, history and economics teacher and the Link Crew coordinator. “Some of these graduating classes have 20 kids, and all the sudden, you’re in a class of 300. It’s an intimidating experience.”
Enter the Link Crew, a program implemented at high schools across the United States and Canada made up of upperclassmen, called Link Leaders, whose mission is to see no freshman left behind.
More than 80 Link Leaders at L-P welcomed the freshmen Tuesday with upbeat music, cheering and high-fives. Later, they would go on to work in pairs assigned to groups of eight to 10 freshmen, who would get help finding their classrooms for the semester.
“When I was a freshman, I felt included and welcomed because of freshman orientation, so I wanted to be a part of that,” junior Link Leader Abby Coutre said.
Junior Link Leader Josh Rinehart agreed.
“I was coming from a small school,” he said about his elementary school, Deer Park. “Coming to orientation helped me get started making new friends.”
The Link Crew’s plans go beyond orientation day, however. Clydesdale said the small groups formed Tuesday will continue to meet once a month throughout the school year, alternating between shared lunches and activity meetings. He also said the small groups will have their lockers together, so they’ll see each other every day.
Senior Link Leader Shana Puetz said it’s about “making them feel at home, making them feel pride in L-P and wanting to be a Cavalier … It’s one of the most important things as they get older.”
Rachel Stella can be reached at (815) 220-6933 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_LaSalle.
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