Link Looks Back, cont. from Roar Magazine

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Link Looks Back, cont. from Roar Magazine

In case you missed it in the magazine: The transition between middle school and high school can be nerve-racking. It’s common for freshmen to walk into the wrong classroom, worry about who they will sit with during class, and stress over the amount of work that is suddenly being piled upon them. Potomac Fall’s Link Crew works to help the freshmen handle these new challenges and understand that they are not alone in their struggles; we’ve all been there. 

Link Crew provides an orientation for incoming freshmen before the start of the school year with a tour of the school, fun activities, and time for questions and concerns. They are introduced to the Link Leaders, who are upperclassmen, who have gone through multiple training sessions to make sure that they are equipped to answer questions confidently and are there to become an instant friend to the members of their Link Crew group. 

“The goal of Link Crew is for students to help students succeed,” said Link Crew co-sponsor, Alexandra Swinimer. “It’s building leadership skills in upper class students that they can use to help the freshmen grow accustomed to Potomac Falls, as well as in activities outside of Link Crew,” said Swinimer. 

Link Crew Leaders practiced how they would lead their students through activities that would mirror real-life challenges the Freshmen would face during their summer training sessions. “It’s easy to connect with people who are [similar to you], but inevitably every group has individuals who aren’t exactly like everyone else,” said Swinimer. “Being able to lead them and work with them is the mark of a true leader. We work really hard to make sure we have lots of representation in different groups and activities so that the students can see themselves in a leader, even if it’s not their specific leader.”

Continued: “My favorite training activity was probably the one where we got to sit in circles and draw certain things about who we are,” said senior Link Leader, Caroline Koon. “I’ve definitely realized how much time and effort I’ve put into these last four years because of the knowledge I’ve gained, which I can use to help the freshman in their transitions.”

Link Leaders provided their freshmen with a warm introduction to Potomac Falls at orientation and were easily identifiable by their print blue shirts reading “I”ll be there for you,” on the first day of school. The shirts were an excellent reference to a beloved show (Friends) about companionship and overcoming challenges which is what Link Leaders have helped their freshmen with, throughout the year.

“Especially in the beginning of the year, [Link Crew] helped me to find my way around the school and get to know Potomac Falls,” said freshman Sena Nutekpor.

“I think they did a really good job introducing us to the new school and gave a lot of good pointers about how to succeed,” said freshman Melanie Woodall. “They prepared me for the amount of homework to expect and encouraged me to join clubs. It was really fun getting to know the upperclassmen and my link leaders were really sweet.”

Link Leaders were able to check on the freshmen to make sure they were successfully managing their homework, friendships, and extracurricular activities during their advisory class. “It gives [us] a chance to do fun activities, and it lets [us] have the chance to talk to our link leaders if we need to,” said freshman Cyrus Mason.

The organization works to make sure that every freshman feels cared for and involved by using activities such as cookie-baking, 64 squares, and paper-airplane competitions. It allows them to make new friends as well as connect with their Link Leaders in an enjoyable environment.

“The most rewarding part is knowing that I’m helping some freshmen with the things they may be worried about, such as where their classes are,” said Koon. “You can share your high school story with your crew…which may inspire them to pursue their interests or branch outside or their comfort zones.”

Link Crew aims to show every freshman that they are important to Potomac Falls and that they will be met with open arms by upperclassmen.

“I’ve seen the freshmen have a more exciting, enthusiastic experiences at orientation and during their first week of school because of Link Crew,” said Swinimer. “The freshman student who doesn’t have a large group of friends can be guided by their Link Leader and connect with them.”

“It’s been fun to meet new people and to be prepared for all the work coming at us,” said freshman, Mathew Weber, “I probably will participate in Link Crew as an upperclassman because being a role model for the freshmen seems very important,” said Weber.

Regarding future Link Crew Leaders, Koon says, “Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself! Be enthusiastic to show them school spirit so that they can bring that vibe to school.”

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