Juniors, seniors lend a hand to ninth graders
Students hit the ground running at La Jolla High School Tuesday.
But a week ago, on Aug. 27, the morning was all about the Class of 2012, which this year numbers about 450 - slightly more than last year's.
That was the day when they met their Link Crew leaders, juniors or seniors who throughout the school year will contact them to see how they are transitioning to high school.
After a welcoming speech from Spanish teacher Nicholas Bankert, the freshmen broke into small groups led by their leaders to review the school rules, share their experiences, and tour the campus.
"We hope that (the freshmen) feel welcome when they come here," said Susie DeLacy, a Link Crew organizer.
In eighth year
The program, which has been at La Jolla High School for about eight years, is a national program used by many high schools. Besides providing support for ninth graders, Link Crew leaders are also required to tutor two days a week after school.
"Research has show that once it's introduced into a school, attendance goes up, we have less dropouts, we have less hazing, we have more kids involved," said Kerry Dill, an AP psychology teacher and ASB advisor who also organized the orientation. "I think over the years we've seen that happen here as well."
The 102 Link Crew leaders were selected through a competitive process. They are required to have a 2.0 GPA or higher in academics and citizenship and are usually recommended by staff members. This year, almost 200 students applied.
"The kids that don't get picked are really disappointed, and we feel really bad that we can't take them all, and we put them on the waiting list, but we hardly ever lose a Link Crew leader," said DeLacy.
One of those selected was Merry Yuen, a senior, who said, "I just really like working with kids, and I really like helping out, and being involved is a really big thing for me."
Nearby was ninth-grader Ciera Chad, who said she was more excited than nervous about starting high school.
"It's high school and all my friends are here, and I'm out of middle school being babied, I guess," said Chad. "There's more freedom here."