On Friday, August 24, Amity Link Crew helped welcome the class of 2016 during the annual freshman orientation. Lining the entrance to the gymnasium, close to 90 paprika-clad Link Crew Leaders cheered and danced as the incoming 9th graders paraded through the “gauntlet” of upperclassmen.
To kick off the day’s festivities, Link Crew Coordinator Tasia Kimball spoke to the class of 2016 to familiarize them with some of the exciting challenges and experiences they would face over the next four years at Amity. After some more activities in the gym to break the ice, the crowd of over 400 freshmen broke up into smaller groups with two link leaders in each group. Spread around the school in various classrooms, the group members got to know each other better through activities such as “Team Juggling,” “Life Story,” and “64 Squares,” all of which were lead by Link Leaders.
“It was great getting to know all of freshmen through the activities we did," senior Link Crew leader Gabby Gregorczyk said. "I love getting the opportunity to help others too, it’s a great feeling!” Fellow senior Link Leader Shae Belinski agreed. “I really enjoy being one of the first upperclassmen that the freshmen meet in high school. I also believe it's important that their first experience at high school be a great memory.”
Shae certainly gave the freshmen in his group something to remember: they beat out 45 other groups to win the costume contest. Each pair of Link Crew Leaders is responsible for coming up with a theme and dressing up their group of freshmen in costumes during the tour of the school. Carrying around real enormous and leafy tree branches, Shae and partner Lisa Chen paraded their forest of freshmen through the halls of Amity. Other notable costumes included groups of party animals, penguins, Dalmatians, and even the characters from The Hunger Games.
As the morning’s activities were winding down, everyone involved with orientation gathered outside the pond for a cookout. After hanging around for a bit and mingling with new friends, the freshmen headed home as excited as ever for their first day of classes on the 29th.
“Freshman orientation went great; I thought it was an overall success because the leaders were energized which got the freshmen energized too," Senior Link Crew Leader Gilbert Guo said about the day's events. "I was also glad to know that I helped make the freshmen’s transition to high school smoother. I’m happy to help because they seemed to have a lot of misconceptions about high school and questions that the upperclassmen can answer.”
Link Crew continues to keep in contact with the freshman class for the duration of the school year, hosting events such as Freshman Tailgate and Cocoa & Cram. Link Crew coordinators and leaders alike were pleased with the success of this year’s orientation and they are all hoping that it’s the first of many positive experiences at Amity High School.