The transition to high school brings incoming freshmen new teachers, friends, experiences, and worries. This year at orientation, new students met Link Mentors, who will aid them through the challenges that lie ahead.
At freshman orientation, the Link Mentors introduced themselves and the program that they will be leading. They gave the new students a tour of the school, discussed how block schedules work, explained the student portal, and held bonding activities. This all propelled the students to connect with each other and the mentors. Throughout the year, the new students will have someone who they can talk to because the mentors have gone through similar experiences.
“We are just another person that [freshmen] can reach out to if they have any questions. Just like their counselors, we are another resource for them,” said junior Esther Enekes, one of the Link Mentors. “But the difference is that we are students who have probably gone through the things they have any questions about.”
The Link Mentor program started around eight years ago after the school felt that orientation for freshmen and other new students was lacking. They also felt that the new students should meet upperclassmen that they could talk to. The program has taken the weight off of the faculty’s back by having the Link Mentors answer most of the basic school questions, like how to get around the campus, how to reach out to counselors, and how the block schedules work. Now, the upperclassmen work with the new students and answer all of the questions to help them prepare and feel more comfortable. Past students have found this connection with an upperclassman very beneficial.
“In some ways, I did feel connected because the Link Mentor helping me was involved in the performing arts as a freshman just like me,” said freshman Kayla Alonso. “Additionally, my Link Mentor knew how difficult it was adjusting to a new campus and meeting new people.”
Not only will the mentors help students in the beginning of the year, but they will also continue to work with them in advisory. These mentors will gain special connections throughout the year with the students because they might have common interests and they know what it is like to be a new student. If the connections are not made at orientation, the exercises and programs the mentors will lead during advisory will do the trick.
“Students in the past have said that they felt more welcomed by spending time with their link mentors,” said Activities Director Danielle Bowen. “They have also felt more comfortable on campus, which is the whole point so they know their way around, that they have met some adults, and that they have spent time with and not just met an upperclassman.”