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East Union welcomes 400 plus freshmen
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East Union High Link Crew leaders Carmen Tantaros and Alexis Smith meet up with members of the freshmen class. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

In the six years as Link Crew advisor, Denise Runyon wasn’t quite sure the last time East Union High had this many freshmen.
About 415 ninth-grade students, who, just a few months earlier attended Manteca Unified feeder sites such Neil Hafley, McParland, and New Haven, were welcomed Wednesday morning to the Dalben Center for a kick-off assembly hosted by Link Crew.
That’s the international leadership program that assists newcomers transition to their new surroundings during that first year.
“My sister (Jillian) is a freshman so I wanted to help out,” said senior Alexis Smith, who was among the 60 underclassmen serving as Link Crew leaders.
She and fellow Link Crew leader Carmen Tantaros shared their experiences at East Union with a group of 15 freshmen.
This included a tour of the campus along with some of the nuances of the Lancers’ tradition.
“I remember my first day here being from a small school (New Haven),” Tantaros said.
One way she became acclimated to East Union High by joining the cross country team.
It’s also through athletics that she met Smith, who also ran cross country.
Freshmen, in fact, are encouraged to get involved whether through sports, the arts, campus clubs or AP courses during their time at East Union, Runyon said.
They took that first step thanks in part to Link Crew.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail