Link Crew, the national orientation and mentoring program, is in its 11th year at West Hartford’s Hall High School.
By Ronni Newton
Freshmen and other first-year students at West Hartford’s Hall High School are eased into the transition to a new school thanks to the a dedicated group of upperclassmen who apply to be selected and then volunteer as members of Link Crew, a national orientation and mentoring program that is now in its 11th year at the school.
Last year’s program was completely virtual, and while the program remained abbreviated for 2021, on the Monday before the first day of classes, 85 junior and senior volunteers welcomed approximately 350 new students to Hall.
“Although we didn’t get a chance to all gather all together in the gym like years past, ninth graders were still able to meet their new classmates in small groups and tour the school,” said Christina Hunter, a math teacher at Hall who is also one of the Link Crew coordinators.
“A new addition to this year’s program was a school scavenger hunt,” Hunter said. “Link Leaders led their groups around the school, stopping at important locations to grab a sticker to add to their maps. All completed maps were entered into a gift card raffle.”
Erina Cayford, Gavin Kaminski, and Miriam Youel were raffle winners.
The goal is to have freshmen feel welcome and comfortable, so they can avoid that “deer in the headlights” look on the first day of classes.
Link Crew doesn’t stop with orientation. The program sets the tone for a successful year through email connections as well as follow up through academic and social activities.
Hunter said that Link Crew hopes to bring back in-person events later in the school year, popular events like “Cocoa and Cram” for midterm exam review sessions in January.
This year’s “The Link Crew of Hall High” t-shirts were inspired by “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Hunter said.
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