by BERENICE SANCHEZ and GIBRAN ‘GIBZ’ MONCAYO/South Kern Sol
ARVIN–Arvin High School’s Link Crew Leaders stood out with their neon green shirts during the first week of school. They were ready to help incoming freshmen assimilate into high school and grow their ‘Bear Pride.’
As soon as you stepped onto campus and saw their event, you could feel the joy and happiness that was around them. The air was filled with the hint of hot dogs and soda pop. You could hear the laughter and joy of everyone there from staff to students.
Link Crew was founded in 2007 with the intent of helping transition freshmen into sophomores. Since then Link Crew has managed to do just that and more.
They’ve helped freshmen like 14 year-old Moises Luna find their way around school and make new friends. Also they help students to feel like they belong in school and not somewhere else and to make the first day of school less scary. Knowing that you have a support system there for you the first day is something that not only relaxes you but also comforts and eases you.
Link Crew Leader Melissa Niño said she became a Link Crew Leader because she wanted to see improvement.
“My Leader wasn’t great and I wanted to be better than her,” said Niño. “(Also) I saw that people in the program were enthusiastic and it made me want to be like them.”
Niño thinks it a really good program and it’s really helpful for students. She said, “this program is of choice and I enjoy doing things for my freshmen.”
Unlike some Link Crew Leaders, who are looking to spice up their résumés, Niño really enjoys it because it gives her that really-good feeling of helping people out that are new to school, and ‘just the energy’ it gives her.
Each and every year the program develops, it doesn’t always stay the same. It’s just like everything else it adapts to the environment. Good leadership skills can be taken out of this program as well because you don’t only do they have to manage their school schedule but the Leader must also keep in touch with her/his ‘kids’ and send them letters for birthdays and Christmas.
Like all leaders, there are good and bad experiences that happen. Niño recalled one of many good experiences that have happened to her.
“(On) Orientation Day, one of my freshman fell in love with me and we had an instant friend connection,” she said. “A connection where you can be yourself even when you first meet them.”
Jennifer Stevens, an Arvin High teacher and active leader of many clubs on campus said the Link Crew is a resource to freshmen.
“(This group was established on campus) to help freshmen feel like they’re a part of Arvin High School,” said Stevens. She added that most incoming freshmen don’t feel welcomed.
Freshman Jovita Torres, 14, had feared just that. Torres thought upperclassmen would be mean to her. She was glad to see that this wasn’t the case.
“Not all of the older kids are jerks,” said Torres. “They (Link Crew) actually show that there are people that are here to help out, and that care about the school.”
Link Crew Leaders also seem to act as mentors to the incoming freshmen. They know they can go to their Link Crew leader(s) for any help, whether it be on homework or if they need a friend.
When asked where they would be, if this program wasn’t here for them, Link Crew freshmen simply replied, “I’d be lost.”