Link Crew is Here to Help


Photo by Jaein Kim

Link crew leader and junior Abby Hopper checks in with Tracy Bebout’s freshman advisement class and gives them advice for their first month of high school.

Jaein Kim, Staff Writer

From freshman orientation to advisement check-ins throughout the year, Portola High’s first ever Link Crew helps freshmen transition into their new lives as high school students.

Link Crew is a mentor-mentee program between upperclassmen and freshmen with the intention of creating a more welcoming atmosphere for the class of 2023. After the application and training process, link leaders are assigned a freshman advisement that they will actively mentor. 

Each advisement check-in, where link leaders visit their freshman advisement, has a different purpose, varying from a casual meetup to course selections. Link leaders’ ultimate goal is to create an environment where the freshmen feel at home.

“Link leaders will be able to go in there and be extra hands and extra voices of ‘I’ve been through this before. I know what was best for me when I did it. This is what you should do,’” Link Crew co-adviser and visual and performing arts teacher Kearci Moir said.

Link Crew is a unique experience for the upperclassmen as well. Not only do they meet the future of Portola High, upperclassmen link leaders also reflect and look back on themselves to when they were brand new to the school.

“It’s definitely a learning experience meeting the freshmen and understanding that they’re coming from a place of confusion, and they might be a bit lost in some aspects of high school,” link leader and senior Eden Yeh said. “It’s a great opportunity to become a mentor and help these freshmen out in what they want to achieve in high school.”

To say that Link Crew is a simple mentor-mentee program is an understatement. The bonds that link leaders form with their freshmen are beyond academic, and often turn out to be personal.

“I first decided to join link crew because I knew my sister would be a freshman at Portola. I wanted to see things from her side as a freshman, and help other freshmen adjust to Portola,” Yeh said. “If I was a freshmen, I would just feel better knowing that I can reach out to someone for help but still have a personal connection.”

Transitioning from middle school to high school is often a difficult process for many. With Link Crew there to help, freshmen will be able to easily acclimate to their new environment. Aside from leading the freshmen through interactive activities during advisement, link leaders give advice on a variety of subjects ranging from athletics to academic success to maintaining balance between social life and school.

“My hope would be that [Link Crew] would be something that a freshman looks forward to being a part of for four years,” Link Crew co-advisor and math teacher Jen Ochsner said. “So as a freshman, they get to be involved; as a sophomore, maybe they’re just aware of it and helping informally, but as juniors and seniors look forward to being a link leader.”

Link Crew will not only grow in number, but will also settle down as a part of Portola High over time according to Ocshner. The program will likely affect more than those directly participating in it in the future. Slowly but surely, interactions between the Link Leaders and freshmen will blossom into meaningful friendships.

“It takes time for culture to build, and it takes time for programs to become established,” Ocshner said. “I’ve seen this program at other schools where it had been around forever, and it was just second nature. We’ll get there. It’s just gonna take a few years.”