As incoming freshmen tried to toss five balls made of masking tape among themselves in a pattern without dropping them, Carson High School senior Andrea Senda, 16, explained the metaphor.
“Juggling school with sports and other things is going to be hard,” she explained. “But if you all work together, we can get it done.”
Senda is one of about 60 upperclassmen who make up the Link Crew at Carson High School. Each Link leader is assigned a group of freshmen to mentor and welcome to the school. The groups met with their leaders Tuesday morning as part of freshman orientation.
Math teacher and Link Crew adviser Jennifer Walls said she was impressed the class of 2018 during the opening ceremony of the orientation.
“This morning far exceeded my expectations,” she said. “They seem like a really participatory class.”
The program, adopted in 2004, has changed the culture of the high school, Walls said.
“Seniors used to chant, ‘Go home, freshmen,’” she said. “It was really kind of sad. Link Crew changed the environment. I think it’s a cool way for freshmen to start high school with really positive messages.”
Link Crew leaders showed their groups around the high school, familiarizing the new students with the campus and helping them find their classrooms and lockers.
They also spent much of the morning playing games to get to know one another and to foster teamwork.
Hannah Parks, 15, said getting to meet more of her classmates as well as the older students will help ease the transition when school resumes Monday.
“It helps me calm my nerves,” she said. “If you end up stuck with someone, you might know them.”
Sawyer Barnett said his mom made him go, but he was glad that she did.
“I got to see the school and know it a little better,” he said.
Walls said of all the things students learned Tuesday, she hoped the one message students absorbed was empowerment.
“There is a place for me at Carson High School,” she said. “I need to make good choices. This can be a really great adventure for the next four years.”