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Linking freshmen up to Manteca High
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Link Crew leader Marisela Villegas helps lead a group of freshmen at Mondays orientation session at Manteca High. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Freshmen orientation at Manteca High may have had its fair share of doers.

Included was an estimated 300 ninth-grade students who showed up to Monday’s annual Link Crew event that kicked off at Winter Gymnasium.

According to coordinator Nina Norton, MHS has 440 freshmen enrolled for the upcoming school year.

The first day of school is Thursday.

“You’re already ahead of the game,” she said to those in attendance. “Our hope is what you’ve learned today will make that first day of school a little less scary.”

Norton along with her 80 Link Crew leaders – predominantly juniors and seniors – sported the T-shirts addressed to the freshmen class: “The Road to Success is Always Under Construction.”

She noted that half of the Link Crew leaders are returners from last year. Zack Hendrix and Marisela Villegas, however, are among the newcomers.

Both are juniors and were quick to notice how much life has changed in their two years of high school.

“I remembered being scared (like many of these freshmen) but I made many new friends,” said Villegas, who came to MHS from Woodward School.

She got involved in school by joining some of the clubs on campus. Ditto that for Hendrix.

He came from Sequoia School and has been active in Future Farmers of America and the Buffalo football program.

Hendrix and Villegas, who both spent several hours last week preparing for freshmen orientation, involved their youngsters in an assortment of ice-breaking activities coupled with a tour of the campus.

“We had to tell them about the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ at MHS,” Hendrix said.

Among the ‘don’ts’ for freshmen is to run down the hallway.

 As Link Crew leaders, they’re made available to these young Buffaloes from throughout the school year. In the past, they’ve also held tailgate parties prior to a football game open to all ninth graders.

Norton encouraged the freshman class to get involved by becoming doers.

“The world is made up of doers and watchers,” she said. “It’s OK to be watchers; that’s how they first become involved.”

And then there are those who inexcusably don’t show up.

About 140 missed out on this year’s freshmen orientation, according to Norton.

“That’s too bad. They won’t know anything about the balloon-popping (activity) nor the free donuts and candies,” she said.