By Melanie Williamson
The Vermilion High School Link Crew hosted their annual orientation for incoming eighth graders to welcome them to the high school and to let them know about some of the exciting programs they will be offering through the school year. Orientation day included a variety of fun activities and interactions between the incoming eighth graders and the upper classmen designed to get the students excited about starting a new year in a new building.
Link Crew coordinator Christine Reynolds shared, “we are hoping to expand the Link Crew Program this year. The program will have academic and social follow ups. So the peer leadership students will go into the 8th grade classes to teach them various lessons such as time management and using resources available to them. The social follow ups are activities that we have planned to encourage the 8th grade to participate and do well in school – we are running Cocoa and Crams this year – students will stay after school to help study for their midterms. Last year we had a tailgate before the football game – we are hoping to have another one of those.”
Link Crew is a national high school transition program that provides schools with a framework to run their own program designed to welcome incoming freshman and help them make a smooth transition into high school. Since Vermilion High School also houses the eighth grade, the VHS Link Crew offers programs targeting the incoming eighth graders.
The Link Crew model was built on the belief that students can help other students succeed. VHS runs through Link Crew through the Peer Leadership class, which is open to junior and seniors. These students are offered training on mentorship, so they are better equipped to connect with the younger students in a positive way.
According to the national Link Crew website, “More and more studies show that if students have a positive experience their first year in high school, their chance for success increases dramatically. Link Crew provides the structure for freshmen to receive support and guidance from juniors and seniors who have been through the challenges that high school poses and understand that the transition to a larger school can sometimes be overwhelming.”
Link Crew is a year-long program that will include follow up events and programs throughout the school year and is an important part of growing an anti-bullying culture. The website states, “Link Crew’s goal is to provide schools with a structure in which students make real connections with each other thus increasing school safety and reducing incidence of bullying with anti-bullying education.”