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New herd of Buffalo join ranks at Manteca
Adreil Sarmento works on opening his locker on Friday during the Link Crew activities at Manteca High School. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Adriel Sarmento didn’t seem the least bit worried as he paced the long central corridor of Manteca High School on Friday morning.

The incoming freshman from Sequoia Elementary was all smiles as he finally got the chance to open his own locker and get accustomed to the space that will essentially be his home for the next four years – taking full advantage of the Link Crew tour he got with his fellow incoming Buffalo.

And with plans to play basketball already on his list of things to do, getting involved with extracurricular activities isn’t going to be a problem for Sarmento.

“I think that what we’re doing today is good because we get to meet people and learn more about where we’re going to be at for the next four years,” he said while on his tour. “I want to get good grades and be a good student, but I’m also looking forward to basketball season.”

With a budget shortage leaving some area high schools without their traditional attachment to freshman orientation – often referred to as the “Link Crew” – Manteca High still kept the valuable program that not only pairs up incoming students with upperclassmen that can answer their questions, but gets them acquainted with both the campus and the other students they’ll be sharing it with.

The gesture might seem simple to some, but for senior Katie Helsley – who is in her second year with the program and has the luxury this time around of knowing her system is a part of the program for incoming students – the lessons learned make the intimidation of stepping foot on a new campus something that dissipates rather quickly.

“A lot of times when freshman step foot onto the campus for the first time they’re confused – they’re in an unfamiliar place and they don’t anybody or where they’re going,” Helsley said. “This changes that, and it makes things run much smoother for them.

“I know that when I was a freshman (as) it helped me out on my first day at school.”