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Program eases transition for freshmen

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Link Crew leaders orchestrated a variety of activities during Wednesday’s freshmen orientation at Ripon High.


POSTED August 14, 2014 1:04 a.m.

There are several things a freshman should know at Ripon High during the first few days of school.

For example, junior Robert Hutto pointed out the on-campus student store to his touring group of ninth graders.

“This is where you can grab a quick food or a snack – and it’s cheap,” said the Link Crew leader during Wednesday’s freshmen orientation.

He’s one of 43 upperclassmen involved in the transition program that welcomes freshmen by making them feel comfortable through that first year of high school.

At Ripon High, 283 are enrolled to kick off the first day of school, which is today.

“We encouraged them to bring their class schedule (to freshmen orientation),” said Link Crew advisor Jill Mortensen.

She’s spearheaded the program for the past nine years, with those in Link Crew also being in her Leadership Class.

“They’re here to share their knowledge,” Mortensen said. “Freshmen are more likely to listen to their Link Crew leaders than their teachers – they’re closer to them in age.”

They came together in the North Gym, where not too long ago the younger students ruled the school as eighth graders at Ripon Elementary, Ripona Elementary, Weston Elementary, Colony Oak Elementary or Park View Elementary.

They also met Principal Lance Morrow, who noticed something different about this large group during the ice-breaking activities.

“No one there was too cool to be silly,” he said.

Mortensen may have helped the cause by wearing a tutu and headdress over her Link Crew ensemble. It was her message to be “OK with your weirdness,” she said.

The silliness continues at the first-day of school assembly in the North Gym with the third annual Staff Spirit rally at 8 a.m. today.

The student body of about 900 students – Morrow reported 35 new students were enrolled within the past two weeks – will be introduced to the teachers and staff. Included will be a skit and a fashion show.

“They’ll get a chance to see us in a different light,” Mortensen said.

She added that several Link Crew activities are in the planning stages involving members of the Class of 2018.

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