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100 upperclassmen mentor Sierra High freshmen online
SHS link virtual
Freshmen at Sierra High responding to the virtual Link Crew event held earlier this past week.

Jeff Greene had a freshmen orientation to remember.

He and Tyler Ryan are the Link Crew advisors at Sierra High. What made this event different compared to the previous years was the task of executing the high school transition program that welcomes ninth graders to their new environment virtually.

“We’re used to doing (freshmen orientation) in person,” Greene said.

But due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the Central Valley, the Manteca Unified School District kicked off the new school year with distance learning.

That meant the ice-breaking activities along with the meet-and-greet with Link Crew leaders – Sierra has close to 100 upperclassmen serving as mentors to this year’s freshmen class – were all done via online using Microsoft Teams.

The Link Crew online curriculum was purchased by the school, arriving about a week before the actual event.

“We were left having to scramble,” said Greene, who has been the program advisor for nearly the past dozen years.

He and Ryan met virtually with the Link Crew leaders, who took it from there.

The program consisted of 25 channels, with groups of two leaders being teamed up with eight or nine freshmen. In all, there were 47 groups.

“The software allows for only so many groups,” Greene said.

The first-ever online freshmen orientation included Principal Steve Clark welcoming the Class of 2024. “You’re now part of the Timberwolves family – we’re excited to have all of you here,” he said.

Greene also introduced Assistant Principal Anthony Chapman, Vice Principal Anne Marie Shaw, Athletic Director Andrew Lee and Activities Director Jared Rio.

Link Crew at SHS is now off and running. Much to the relief to Greene and Ryan, who is also credited as being the tech guy.

“Since we have all these groups set up on Teams, it will make it easier for our leaders to remain in contact with their freshmen,” Greene said. “They’ve already had a couple contacts (with freshmen) since Monday, checking on that first day to see if they have questions.

“This option is one we may consider continuing even when we return in person because of its ease.”