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USD 431 to implement Link Crew to mentor incoming freshman
hoi kl link crew2
Hoisington High School teachers Tim Woodcock, right, and London Reif, left, along with Hoisington High School counselor Amanda Brack attended a three-day Link Crew training seminar in Virginia Beach, Va. recently. Link crew is a nationally known, nationally accredited transition program for high school freshmen and non-freshman transfer students. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

HOISINGTON — Entering high school as a freshman is a difficult transition period for students. The upperclassmen are larger, and there have never been so many choices. To make that transition easier, Hoisington High School will be implementing the Link Crew next fall.
Link Crew is a mentoring program that links upperclassmen to the incoming freshmen each year.  Each upperclassmen leader is assigned a group of freshmen whom they stay connected with throughout the year.  The goals of the organization are to make the school a more welcoming place for freshmen, create a feeling of community, and set the new students up for success in not only their first year but all their years.
“This trains the upperclass to be leaders in school,” said Meg Wilson, principal. “It involves every freshman. There will be a whole year of activities for the school.”
Wilson and other staff traveled to Andover to see the Link Crew in action. They were impressed with what they saw.
The schools’ core values which include respect, responsibility, grit, positive attitudes and honesty will be implemented with Link Crew. The core values were chosen by the students.
The Link leaders must apply for the volunteer position. They have to be recommended by two teachers. The groups will also be assigned.
Wilson has indicated that some students have already expressed interest in being Link leaders. “I think we’ll get a lot of applications,” she said. “They will spend a day with the (next year’s)  freshman before school starts.”
Three HHS teachers recently attended Link training. They are Amanda Brock, London Reif and Tim Woodcock.
Reif reflected on the experience. “The training was amazing.  As educators, we often overlook how emotionally stressful moving into high school can be for our freshmen.  Even in a small school system it is not always easy.  With Link crew, we will be able to use resources that we don’t always take advantage of – students (juniors and seniors) who have gone through the same thing that these students will be going through – to help our freshmen have a successful transition to our building.  I am looking forward to getting the program started.”
“As a counselor I definitely see the need for such a program in our school.  By implementing this program at HHS we hope to make a positive impact on our students,” said Brack.
On April 27, the program was introduced to the sophomore and junior class at HHS.
After their freshman year, the students will then become Link leaders.
“This will help with the dynamic of the school spirit,” said Wilson.
The Link Crew will be the umbrella organization for all of the other school organizations.
The school is accepting donations to help cover the cost of this program.