Link by Link, Step by Step

By Eram’e Tost

and Kendall Marshall

In 2000, the Boomerang Project, a non-profit organization that partners with high schools to implement transition and orientation curriculum, created Link Crew, a program welcoming the incoming freshmen class by supporting them to feel safe and comfortable throughout their first year of high school. Boomerang Project’s high school transition program trains mentors from the junior and senior classes to become Link Crew Leaders. A Link Leader’s role is to mentor students in the freshmen class to understand what it takes to be successful during their transition into high school, while also providing support they may need.

Link Crew is a year-long program consisting of four main components: high school orientation, in which the relationship between freshmen and leaders begins; academic follow-ups, when leaders check in with their freshmen regarding their academic progress; social follow-ups, where leaders connect with freshmen outside of school; and finally, leader-initiated contacts, in which leaders connect with freshmen on a more individualized basis. Link Crew’s goal is to create a structure for students to make real connections with others, reduce incidents of bullying, and support their communities.

Forks High School’s 2023-24 school year is the first year since Covid that Link Crew has been reestablished in the school. Forks High Link Leaders have put forth effort to mentor the incoming freshmen class in a series of interactive events. In late August, Link Crew hosted freshmen orientation, allowing FHS Link Leaders to show the freshmen around school and to begin building a bond. Following the start of the school year, weekly meetings were held to plan Link Crew’s participation in Scare off Hunger, a community service activity that included Link Leaders taking freshmen trick or treating for canned goods that were donated to Forks Food Bank.

Midway through November, Link Leaders met with their assigned freshmen advisories to discuss Random Acts of Kindness Month. The leaders and their freshmen created posters to be hung outside their classroom. Students can then write down acts of kindness they or a classmate completed. At the end of December, the advisory class with the most acts of kindness recorded earns a celebration. Beginning in December, every Thursday Link Leaders will meet in their advisories checking the freshmen academics, while answering any questions they might have.

Forks High School’s 2023-24 Link Leaders are encouraging current and future juniors to join Link Crew, allowing them to maintain the same safe and comfortable environment that was once built for them.