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Linking frosh to Ripon High
Ripon Unified school year starts today
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Link Crew leader Anna Pederson leads her group in the ice-breaking game of Ha Ha at Wednesdays freshman orientation event. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

The “Ha Ha” game was one of the icebreaking activities used Wednesday at the Ripon High Link Crew freshmen orientation event.
According to Jill Mortensen, who is the longtime advisor of the leadership and mentoring program as well as the school’s Activity Director / Independent Study Coordinator, the game consisted of each person – in this case, ninth-grade students mixed with Link Crew leaders – forming a connection of sort.
Lying flat on the gym floor, this human chain kicked off with one person saying “ha” followed by the second person responding in sequence with a “ha ha” and the next following suit with a “ha ha ha.”
Mortensen noted that the goal here was to get all the way through the entire group without anyone actually laughing.
But that was easier said than done – laughter can be infectious.
She along with her 51 Link Crew leaders can only hope that the fun and games coupled with plethora of information squeezed in during a two-hour span during the orientation session will have a trickling effect.
School begins at 7:30 a.m. today with a rally.
Sarah Thompson remembered her first day at RHS.
That was about three years ago. She described herself as a “scared” freshman from Colony Oak Elementary School.
“The juniors and seniors seemed a lot older, too,” Thompson said.
These days, she’s the one feeling a bit older and wiser upon entering her junior year.  Thompson, who is the Link Crew coordinator for this year, is looking at some academic challenges ahead in taking three AP classes.
She’s hoping to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Mortensen, meanwhile, said that Link Crew emphasized to the 240 freshmen – one of the largest group of ninth graders at RHS – to make good choices.
“This is not a time to slack off,” she said.
The Link Crew leaders came from a cross section of the study body – those in the performing arts, athletes, Future Farmers of America students, to name a few – and encouraged to the group of newcomers to get involved with school.
This includes joining the various clubs on campus, taking part in sports, or attending the rallies and games, Mortensen said.