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Change of scenery for freshmen at Manteca, EU

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Change of scenery for freshmen at Manteca, EU

Sierra High Link Crew member Haley Silva (right) chats with incoming freshmen Madison Mills (center) during Friday’s orientation on campus.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED August 3, 2014 10:04 p.m.

East Union High and Manteca High did a little changing up on Friday’s freshmen orientation plans.

East Union opted for the air-conditioned Dalben Center rather than the traditional outdoor setting of Dino Cunial Field as a Plan B for the initial gathering of the Class of 2018.

 “We didn’t want them out there sitting in the hot bleachers this morning,” said Link Crew advisor Denise Runyon.

Manteca High, in contrast, has always held the event sponsored by Link Crew – that’s the peer mentoring program designed to ease these newcomers’ to transition from elementary to high school – at Winters Gymnasium.

Mary Ann Tolbert, who is in her first year as the Link Crew advisor, made the call on the change of scenery.

What better way to introduce this new class to the school pride but at the home of the Buffaloes – Gus Schmiedt Field.

MHS is the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champions in football.

“The football stadium was the perfect place for our freshmen to become exposed to the tradition. They got to sit in the (spirited) section of The Herd,” Tolbert said.

 Ninth graders at both schools followed the lead of the Link Crew leaders, taking part in ice-breaking activities while integrating with other students outside of their familiar friends.

For the first time, MHS will have a Link Crew class, according to Tolbert.

The leaders will be available for the estimated 435 freshmen – of that, about 50 were unable to attend the orientation – throughout the school year, with activities such as an assembly on bullying in the plans.

Those involved as Link Crew leaders are juniors and seniors from various backgrounds on campus. They not only filled out applications but had to be interviewed while agreeing to take part in the two-day training session.

“The first week of school, they’ll meet up with their leaders for lunch,” said Runyon, who also handles the Link Crew class at East Union.

This year’s group is made up 425 freshmen from feeder school sites of the Manteca Unified School District.

Most turned up for their unofficial first day of their new surroundings.

“Link Crew isn’t just for one day,” Runyon said. “It’s a year-round program.”

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