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Link Crew helps students transition to high school

MARSHALL — With the start of a new school year, a new freshman class is making the transition to Marshall High School. It’s not always an easy change, but that’s where members of the MHS Link Crew come in to help.

Members of the Marshall School Board learned more about the Link Crew program during their regular meeting Monday evening. MHS has participated in the Link Crew program since the 2013-14 school year, but MHS Principal Brian Jones said he thought Monday’s meeting was a good chance to present the board with some more in-depth information.

Link Crew is part of a national program, aimed at helping ninth-grade students make the transition to high school.

“Ninth grade is such a pivotal year,” Jones said. Link Crew leaders work with groups of new students to welcome them to high school, and get the school year out to a good start.

MHS students and Link Crew leaders Isabella Hunsley and Joseph Hanson told board members they applied to join Link Crew because of the difference it made to them as first-year students.

Hanson and Hunsley said they were nervous to start ninth grade. Hanson came from a small class at Marshall Area Christian School, “So I didn’t know a whole lot of people,” he said. But Link Crew gave him a chance to get to know his new high school classmates.

Hunsley said Link Crew helped make her first year at MHS a positive experience too.

“I loved it,” she said. When she had the chance to become a Link Crew leader, she wanted to take the opportunity.

Students who want to become Link Crew leaders go through a selection process that starts well before the new school year. Jones said about 65 to 70 students applied last year. Advisers look for a diverse cross-section of students from different demographics and activities at MHS.

Link Crew leaders like Hunsley and Hanson reach out to new students in the week before school starts, and help new students during orientation. But Jones said there are academic and social components to the program, too. For the first six weeks of the school year, ninth-grade students get together for guided study time, as well as fun activities on Fridays.

About 1,500 ninth-grade students have gone through the Link Crew program since MHS first started taking part, Jones said.

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