By Danica Liang
With the start of the new school year comes the start of a new buddy-system called Link Crew.
“Link Crew pairs up upperclassmen students with freshmen students to provide them with academic and social support throughout the school year,” said dean Eric Shawn. Shawn helps run the program, along with leadership and history teacher Allen Nakamura and physical education teacher Joe Pearse.
Through Link Crew, the goal is to increase academic success, decrease freshman discipline problems, decrease freshman tardiness and truancy and to ensure a smooth transition to high school.
There are approximately 90 to 100 link crew leaders made up of juniors and seniors. Almost all of the Link Crew leaders have been assigned groups of freshmen. For some leaders who do not have a group, they are part of the A Team, which helps out Link Crew as a whole.
“We want Link Crew to be another way that students can be leaders at Alameda High beyond leadership class,” said Shawn.
For Link Crew leaders, the motivation comes from past experience.
“I joined Link Crew because freshman year I had a hard time adjusting to school because I had moved here from Davis,” said senior and Link Crew leader Matt Choi. “I just wanted to help out the freshmen coming in because I knew what it was like.”
In general, Link Crew has received a lot of positive feedback.
“So far, the staff and faculty have reported that students feel more ready and confident to be in high school,” said Shawn. “Parents and students have reported that Link Day was a very positive experience that helped their son or daughter [become] ready to come to Alameda High.”
Link Day was a mandatory event for freshmen that took place the day after freshman orientation. During this event, groups of freshmen met up with their assigned Link Crew leaders and were given a tour of the campus, participated in icebreakers and talked about school life. Link Crew groups have also had lunch together.
“I didn’t expect them to be receiving of what we were doing, so I was surprised when they were talking to me and participating,” said Choi of Link Day.
Both freshmen and Link Crew leaders alike agree that Link Crew has been a positive change.
“It’s a good idea because the upperclassmen [are able to] introduce high school to the freshmen,” said freshman Anson Nguyen.
Fellow freshman Elsie Judy agrees. “It welcomes all the new freshmen and makes us feel like it’s a friendly place,” said Judy.
“I think Link Crew is really cool. It gives upperclassmen an opportunity to connect with freshmen,” said Choi.
Future plans for Link Crew include field trips to train the leaders in strategies to engage the freshmen, academic and social follow-ups such as tailgating football games and hosting a movie night.