Linking up with Brea Olinda High’s Link Crew – Orange County Register

“The Wildcat” sculpture at Brea Olinda High. (File photo by Bruce Chambers, The Orange County Register/SCNG)

I recently learned of Brea Olinda High School’s fabulous Link Crew, and that it has been on campus for several years.

Link Crew is a national program to help incoming freshmen adjust and transition into the hectic high school scene. At BOHS, specially trained juniors and seniors, Link Leaders, welcome, mentor, dispel fears and befriend their frosh classmates.

I think many of us recall graduating from eighth grade and feeling pretty cool and grown up, until we stepped on that high school campus and suddenly felt very small, trying to find our way to all those classes through throngs of older kids who all seemed secure in themselves and where they were headed. Those feeling of insecurity and fear of being made fun of or bullied by the upper classmen are greatly lessened at Brea Olinda, thanks to the Link Crew Leaders.

“It allows the myths about being picked on by upperclassmen to diminish,” said Link Crew adviser Kara Dietz.

Dietz, who was professionally trained to lead the Link Crew, added the program also allows the upperclassmen to be campus leaders and to show freshmen it is OK to be who you are, but to try new things.

To be a Link Leader isn’t a matter of just putting your name on a sign-up sheet. Dietz said they must apply in April for the next school year. Approximately 160 BOHS students apply each year for 100 Link Leader spots. Criteria include a teacher recommendation, decent grades, school involvement, extra curricular activities and participation in Link Academy, a two- or three-day, after-school event.

Once chosen and trained over the summer, the Link Crew starts planning for Welcome Day, a special half-day event for incoming freshmen held on campus a few days before the school year begins.

On Welcome Day, the freshmen and their Link Leaders become acquainted in large-group and small-group activities. The Link Leaders spend about…

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