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Milton program links freshmen to successful upperclassmen

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Stacy Vogel
January 11, 2010
— Final exams can be scary for a high school freshman.

Freshmen at Milton High School were lucky to get the inside scoop Friday from people who have been there.


“I know people who spend countless hours studying,” senior Ellen Check told a group of freshmen in the gym. “You should kind of take a break every few hours so you don’t get too frustrated.”


Check’s co-leader, senior Quinnel Furseth, offered advice to freshmen in a specific science class.


“You guys’ science should be fine as long as you get your portfolios done,” she said. “Just get them done.”


The group was working exactly how Milton’s new Link Crew program was intended, said counselor Dan Thies. The program, followed by several local high schools, aims to help freshmen make the sometimes-difficult transition to high school with the help of successful juniors and seniors.


About 75 percent of freshmen attended an optional orientation day before school started with 72 Link Crew leaders, who were chosen after an application process.


The leaders showed freshmen how to get around school, how to join extracurricular activities and other helpful skills for their first year.


“It got them used to the school, like how fast to walk in the hallways without being late to class,” junior James Lima said.


When asked Friday if the orientation was helpful, several freshmen nodded vigorously.


“It got us used to high school,” Collin Cropp said.


“I like how we got the experience to make new friends,” Justin Kornely added.


In the first semester, the school saw fewer discipline issues with freshmen and higher levels of participation in class and extracurricular activities, Principal Jeremy Bilhorn said.


“They learn how to become high schoolers sooner,” he said. “They’re more comfortable.”


The Link Crew leaders tend to be leaders among the student body, as well, offering good role models for the freshmen, Thies said.


“These upperclassmen are pretty cool,” he said. “They’re in sports or show choir … They’re definitely leaders.”


The program hit a few snags in planning the first semester, but administrators hope the freshmen can meet with their leaders more often in spring semester, Thies said. Ideally, they’d like freshmen to check in with Link Crew once or twice a quarter.


“It’s going to get better every year,” he said.



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