BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Link Crew Freshman Orientation was held at Governor Livingston on Thursday, August 29, to help incoming freshmen become acclimated to their new school. The Class of 2023 learned the ins and outs of their new school through activities, tours and the friendly faces of the GLHS Link Crew Leaders.
Governor Livingston differs from other schools when doing orientation, as it is not hosted by GLHS educators and administration, but by new students’ peers. The upperclassmen running this program are members of the Governor Livingston Link Crew, a club specializing in the transition from middle school to high school.
The first event held at Orientation was a group meeting. The freshmen were moved into the Blue Gym where they were introduced to their leaders and participated in ice breakers. Following this event, the groups separated into classrooms and played “64 squares.” Junior Link Crew leader Claudia Schneider explained, “There are 64 papers set up in a square and leaders are the only people that know the path to get to the end. Each step represents a step in someone’s high school [career].” This way students were able to have fun while also simulating their futures. “The right steps were positive things and the wrong steps were obstacles they are bound to face,” says Schneider. High school is complicated, but the Link Crew leaders did not hesitate in making all freshmen feel comfortable and safe.
Link Crew organized all of the events held at orientation, making sure they appealed to all attendees. Each group picked a theme which they dressed up as and incorporated into their lessons. One theme was a tea party, where the leaders wore plastic tiaras and beads, while another had a sports theme, which involved foam fingers and multi colored whistles. The freshmen were divided into small groups with about 3 to 4 members of Link Crew leading each. “I picked a theme I thought freshmen would enjoy and think was funny,” said junior Link Crew leader Nicole Emma. Emma led a group of “VSCO girls”, which refers to high school students on the app VSCO known for wearing scrunchies and drinking from metal water bottles. The themes were a hit with the incoming class.
After becoming adjusted to their groups, the freshmen were ready for their official school tour. Many upperclassmen may disregard the size and set up of the building, but for new students, it can be quite daunting. Freshman Braeden Cacccamo says, “I felt intimidated.” He continued by saying, “Bigger people, bigger crowd.” Senior Link Crew leader Olivia Mastria did her best to reassure the group, “This is the third floor, it is just a hallway. No twists and turns, no nothing, just a hallway,” when speaking to her group about the science wing on the top level of the building. It is the objective of the Link Crew to not only educate the incoming class, but also make them feel secure in their new environment.
Incoming freshmen got a peek into the everyday routine that they will have for the next nine months of school, and for the next four years of their lives. Link Crew members were able to make the freshmen feel comfortable with their new environment, making orientation a success.