Link Crew hosts freshman, sophomore welcome days

Jayden Xia, Staff Writer

Kadence Ly (9) and Sean Le (9) share out their favorite answers for an icebreaker activity, Aug. 18. Students connected over their favorite childhood toys, career prospects, and more in order to foster relationships early on in their high school career and adjust to the campus. Photo by Jayden Xia.

As lines of expectant freshmen slowly filed into the quad, they were met with the enthusiastic cheers of Link Crew leaders clad in neon t-shirts, a field of numbered meterstick-signs bobbing up and down.

Link Crew hosted two welcome days, one for incoming freshmen and one for sophomores to kick off the school year, Aug. 18 and 19, respectively. Link Crew leaders led small groups in various games and activities as a way to help make these students feel at home.

In their Link Crew groups, students engaged in a range of activities, from hosting mini presentations about themselves to working with their peers to find the exit of a paper maze. 

Upon the success of the group’s maze run, Alexia Gabines (9) and Lia Spilkin (9) were pretty satisfied with their welcome day experience. 

“[It’s been] very nice and welcoming, and everyone’s friendly,” Gabines said. “It’s a good way to start off the year.”

According to Link Crew President Gary He (12), Welcome Day helps to offer a smooth transition into high school for the incoming students while also bridging the gap between the under- and upper-classmen.

“Link Crew is dedicated to helping underclassmen—especially freshmen—adjust to high school life,” He said. “I and my fellow link leaders try to create a welcoming campus culture.” 

The isolationist nature of online school has resulted in sophomores feeling strangely new in an environment that they normally would have spent an entire year in. 

“I did still feel a little new because although I went to hybrid learning experience last year, the last time I had real full in-person learning was [in] eighth grade,” Samantha Song (10) said. “It was really surprising to me to be seeing students who were already almost adults, ready to go to college.”

However, despite the host of new pandemic-induced guidelines, including the introduction of mandated masks and the banning of classroom lunches, students seem largely unfazed. 

Now that she is in high school, Spilkin said she looks forward to the classic football games, dances, and club experiences.

Song, who had had a first taste of in-person high school during the tail end of the 2020-2021 school year expressed her relief at the complete return of all students on campus. 

“It’s really cool to make new friends because last year, sometimes you’d be alone in the class and you couldn’t make any friends,” Song said. “It was so empty and I couldn’t make any friends because there was nobody, but now there’s so many different people you can meet, and it’s really cool.” Isabel Bezy (10) 

While COVID restrictions and the larger attendance size due to the inclusion of two classes posed logistical challenges in hosting the welcome days, He praised Link Crew staff members’ handling of the planning and execution of the event with professionalism and efficiency. 

“Our exec team this year is amazing and more than willing to go the extra mile,” He said. “I’ve got nothing but praise for what Link Crew has been able to bring to the table this year. The underclassmen have never been better served in my three years as a club member.”