HCHS Link Crew ready for new year


John Henson

Harlan County High School seniors, including Chris Brown and Rhileigh Alred, worked during a training session for the HCHS Link Crew last week.

John Henson, Bear Tracks advisor

With a new school year starting soon, members of the third version of the Harlan County High School Link Crew met last week to begin training for their task of helping freshman coming from eight elementary schools around the county make the sometimes difficult transition to high school

“My brothers were freshmen last year and I saw what they did in freshman orientation and how they split into groups. I’m excited to be part of this and help the freshmen transition to high school,” said Chris Brown, a member of this year’s Link Crew. “It’s all about students helping students to succeed. There’s a transition from middle school when you were used to being with the same friends all day.”

“I think the Link Crew will be a special group this year,” said Rhileigh Alred, another HCHS senior Link Crew member “I’m excited to help our freshmen succeed. I think it will be a great year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope they are too.”

Link leaders are upperclassmen who are good role models and have been successful in high school. Students must possess communication skills, leadership qualities and be responsible to be considered for a link leader position. HCHS Link Crew advisor Holly Alred said the group covered team building, small group curriculum, the learning cycle, overcoming resistance, thinking like a leader, and logistics during a training session in preparation for the new school year.

“I’m excited to say that we are going into our third year of Link Crew leaders at Harlan County High School,” Alred said. “Our goal is simple: make transition from middle school to high school easier for our freshmen. The HC Link Crew leaders are assigned groups of freshmen that they will follow and look after all year long.

“In addition, the Link Crew leaders want our freshmen involved in school clubs and activities within the school. These trained leaders will be there to help our freshmen every step of the way. The HC Link Crew wants our incoming freshmen to enjoy their high school experience.”

This year’s list of Link Crew members includes Rhileigh Alred, Kathryn Bailey, Madison Blanton, Dakota Brock, Christopher Brown, Mahalah Bundy, McKenzie Bundy, Josh Burkhart, Patrick Bynum, Amanda Caudill, Emily Collett, Alyssa Cornett, Nikki Creech, Santos Flores, Amber Goodin, Katelyn Hensley, Whitney Hensley, John Jeffers, Katelyn Johnson, Jena Kelly, Ally Kohnle, Josh Lee, Karli Maggard, Phebe McHargue, Elaina Knight, Reanna Middleton, Savannah Osborne, Marissa Powell, Matthew Simpson, Michael Simpson, Abby Stephens, Breann Turner, Kohner Walters, Shawn Warren and Makayla Whitaker.

Link Crew is a year-long transition program, according to www.boomerangproject.com, with four components that contribute to its success:

• High School Orientation — Link Leaders and freshmen start building the mentor relationship and freshmen receive information about how to be successful in high school.

• Academic Follow Ups — Link Leaders support freshman academic success and character development through structured classroom visits.

• Social Follow Ups — Link Leaders and freshmen connect outside the classroom at social events to increase student engagement and promote positive school climate.

• Leader Initiated Contacts — Link Leaders connect with their freshmen on a more individual basis.