Link Crew Applications Are In

DIego Casanova, Reporter

Freshmen year might be one of the most impactful experiences of a high schooler’s life. After coming out of middle school, this transition period is likely to raise some fears and heighten some nerves, especially considering the large work load, a new sense of responsibility and freedom, and flurry of newly-introduced activities. However, these students meet with a group of mentors who understand their hopes and concerns: Link Leaders.

Link Crew is a nationally recognized program that has existed for nineteen years and been a part of thousands of schools in North America. The program impacts one million students and presents itself as an aid to transition for freshmen as well as an effective anti-bullying training. It typically begins at orientation and goes on for the entire year, creating a structure that teaches incoming students a variety of subjects including time management, healthy habits, and sexual wellness.

As the school year edges closer to its end, a council of faculty members is working on selecting a new generation of Link Crew Leaders. On the other side of the spectrum, dedicated juniors and seniors alike are filling out application forms in order to be considered for this mentorship position.

Kathy Roemer, the Fort Worth Country Day Upper School counselor, works alongside Paula Weatherholt, a US math teacher, as the sponsors of Link Crew at FWCD. The both of them organize classes to teach Link Crew Leaders the biweekly lesson and orchestrate events helping freshmen with their transition into young adulthood. These activities include Freshmen Orientation, Step-Up Day, and the Relationship Retreat. Link Leaders take a very active role during these experiences, which requires these leaders to be very hardworking and have a strong sense of leaderships.

“I think the benefits [of being a Link Leader] are that they get a lot of hands on experience with leadership by helping the freshmen every other week. I expect Link Leaders to be model students, people that the school looks up to them to set the trend of how to be respectful of all people, how to follow the rules in a community setting, and how to make this a very friendly environment,” Weatherholt said.

At FWCD, there are twenty-four Link Crew Leaders. They are composed into twelve groups of two Link Crew leaders each. Each set of partners is composed of one junior and one senior, one boy and one girl. Sarah Clarke ’19 is a junior Link Crew Leader who leads her freshmen with Harris Podell ’18.

“Coming into freshmen year can definitely be a bit intimidating, which is why I appreciate my Link Leaders so much. They were great mentors who taught educative lessons while still being fun and comfortable. All of the issues that we cover are present during the year, and the program helped me with a lot of issues and gave me a place to talk about them,” Clark said.

As the senior Link Crew leaders depart, sophomores at FWCD are applying to be considered for the position. If they are accepted, they are notified before the Washington, D.C. trip, which all FWCD sophomores go on as part of their U.S. Government course, and participate in the Link Crew Retreat to prepare for the Freshmen Orientation. Applications were due March 20 and differed from first-time applicants and existing-Link Leaders. However, both kinds consist of questions regarding motives for becoming a Link Leader, how they would connect with students, and schedules. Isabella Vallance ’18 is a sophomore who hopes to become a Link Crew Leader.

“I enjoyed the [Link Crew] experience last year, and I would love to take part in the Link Crew program. I feel like it builds a community of helpful mentors, and it properly educates freshmen on things they should know during their transition year,” Vallance said.

A committee is currently reviewing Link Crew applications for the 14  or so spots open for next year.