HELENA — Grades 1st through 5th, 6th grade, 9th grade, and PAL all began their first day back at school on Wednesday morning. MTN spent the morning at Capital High School to find out how the incoming freshman class is getting settled in.
The program Link is used by Helena Public Schools to help freshman students acclimate to life in high school. HPS also uses a similar program known as WEB for 6th graders. These programs give the students a better understanding of the layout of the school, what is expected of them, a chance to gather their books, and see their schedules and classrooms.
“So, I'd say that that's the biggest purpose is making those connections and just making sure that the freshmen feel welcome here,” says English teacher and Link organizer, Taylee Schlauch.
Many of the students I spoke with seemed very thankful to have this opportunity to learn the lay of the land before upperclassmen join them in the halls on Thursday.
“It's been really helpful because my brother went here and he said they didn't have what we're having today. So, he was just overwhelmed and now I get to do this and not be so overwhelmed and scared,” says freshman, Leah Thomas.
Around 80 Link Crew Leaders, made up of juniors and seniors, ended their summer 1 day early to give the freshman some direction.
“I remember when I was a little freshman, you know. I was kind of scared what was gonna go on and I wanted to kind of help the freshman today and make them feel more comfortable,” says senior and Link Crew Leader, John Settle.
The connections that these freshmen make with each other and with the upperclassmen Link crew on this first day can make a huge difference during the rest of their high school career. Senior and Link Crew Leader, Alyona Zimmerman, reflects back on when she was a freshman herself.
“Yeah, it was definitely really helpful for me. My two people that I had as my Link Crew Leaders, they were a part of the dance team, so that also helped me join the dance team,” says Zimmerman.
Zimmerman also wants to encourage all the new students to not be scared to reach out if they have any problems or questions.
“Don't be scared to reach out if you have any questions. I bet anyone here is open to it. We have counselors, we have a lot of team staff that will be glad to help,” says Zimmerman.
Grades 7-8 and 10-12 begin classes on Thursday, September 1st. Kindergarten begins on Tuesday, September 6th.