Sterling, VA (September 17, 2015) – Dominion High School welcomed more than 250 freshmen to high school on Tuesday, August 25th, by rolling out a new transition program that incorporates student leadership and mentoring.
Instead of just handing out schedules and assigning lockers at freshman orientation, Dominion assigned older students to a Link Crew to help freshmen build relationships and establish connections as they enter a new school. Eight to 10 students are grouped together and assigned a pair of Link Leaders. Link Leaders met with the students for the first time during freshman orientation and will continue to meet weekly during Clubhouse (advisory) throughout the rest of the year. Link Leaders focus on engaging their crews in interactive and fun activities.
“We’ve always tried to make Dominion High School a very personal environment for all of our students,” said Dr. John Brewer, Dominion High School’s principal. “Link Crew gives us an opportunity to enhance our efforts in that regard. I can’t wait to see the results.”
Eighty students were selected to be Link Leaders through a competitive application process. Link Leaders spent two days in intensive training before the orientation and will continue to meet bi-weekly through the school year to develop their leadership skills and confidence in working with their crews.
Jamie Braxton-Brandt, the assistant principal assigned to the freshman class, praised the efforts of the Link Leaders. “It’s a rare occasion when you see a group of students work so hard to make an impact. I’m excited to see how much of a positive influence they’ll have on the freshman class.”
The students serving as Link Leaders also see the program’s value. “When I was a freshman, there was so much I didn’t know. I’m looking forward to helping freshmen as they encounter different challenges and giving them good advice. I’m hoping to help freshmen have a smoother transition to high school,” said Junior Noah Belachew.
Senior Briany Brizuela Lanza noted that the value of the program lies in both its relevance to and engagement of students. “One of the best things about Link Crew is that it uses fun activities to represent and teach us about different real-life situations.”