This year's nearly 400 incoming freshmen at Golden High School spent a full day acclimating to becoming a high schooler on Aug. 14 through the LINK program's freshmen orientation. “There's so much …
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This year's incoming freshmen — graduating in 2023 — will mark Golden High School's 150th graduating class.
This year's nearly 400 incoming freshmen at Golden High School spent a full day acclimating to becoming a high schooler on Aug. 14 through the LINK program's freshmen orientation.
“There's so much for them to get involved with at the high school level,” said Hal Templeton, an assistant principal and the activities director at the school. “LINK brings a sense of community. It helps the kids feel they have a connection with somebody, the school and to each other.”
The new ninth graders had Golden High School all to themselves for freshmen orientation day, as the 10th through 12th graders had their first day this year on Aug. 15.
The LINK program, essentially, is a yearlong mentor program in which upperclassmen help “link” the incoming ninth graders to everything Golden High School offers.
The scope of the program is broad, and covers everything from engaging the freshmen with school spirit to assisting them with learning about the school's academic and social resources.
“Instead of fearing the first day, they become excited about it,” said Sia Anderson, the school's LINK coordinator who teaches AP human geography and world geography. “The goal is to create a sense of belonging for every student.”
About 30 or 40 juniors and seniors are LINK leaders this year, and each of them are working with about 15 freshmen.
“I remember being that kid, completely lost,” said 11th grader Gentry Keener. She added that the LINK program helped her when she was an incoming freshman, so becoming a LINK leader this year “is a way to return the favor.”
Veronica Rogers agreed. Not only do LINK leaders get to meet all the incoming freshmen, Rogers said, it also provides an opportunity for the upperclassmen to make new friends among themselves.
Freshmen orientation day started with an assembly and a tour of the school. The students then spent the rest of the morning participating in various team-building and get-to-know-each-other activities with their LINK leaders.
During lunch, LINK leaders went around to various groups of ninth graders gathered together to make sure they were sitting with fellow students who they hadn't met before, so that everyone had an opportunity to make new friends.
After lunch, the school put on a mock bell schedule for the seven-period day, and LINK leaders helped direct the freshmen to each classroom. The ninth graders spent 15 minutes in each of their classes to meet their teachers and, again, meet new people who they will have classes with this year.
The assembly was especially valuable to learn who the teachers are and about the school in general, said Scott Denison, one of this year's incoming freshmen.
“I'm looking forward to the new challenges high school is going to bring,” Denison said, “like harder classes.”
Golden High School is huge, said Grace Emory, also an incoming freshmen this year. And getting acclimated to a new school “can be a little nerve wracking,” she added.
“But I learned there's always LINK leaders to look up to for advice,” Emory said, “or any other need we have.”
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