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August 30, 2012

Upperclassmen mentors helping OHS freshmen adjust to new school

Mark Boshnack
Staff Writer

ONEONTA — A six-year-old program at Oneonta High School got incoming students off to a good start Wednesday, participants   said.

The Link Crew Freshman Orientation was held from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Each of the 107 students was assigned to one of 41 program   mentors chosen from specially trained juniors and seniors.

It will help freshmen feel more comfortable when they start school a week from Thursday, said program co-coordinator Lisa   Lutsic. Knowing an upperclassman in the Link Crew program will help with the transition, she said.

The program is one of several that the school uses to get students involved and encourage them to stay enrolled.

 “By helping them to feel part of the community, they will be encouraged to be involved with classes, clubs and athletics,”   co-coordinator A.J. Hecox said.

One of the mentors is senior Alex Fox. This is his second year as a mentor in Link Crew. “It’s great to be with the freshmen   again,” he said, adding that he enjoys helping incoming students work through the problems they face. Last year this included   helping a student who was having issues become involved in school. “It was very rewarding.”

This is the first year for junior James Longo as a mentor. “I really hoped I would get chosen,” he said. “I had a great experience”   with the program when he was a freshman. It helped him adjust to the new environment. “I hoped I could pass it on.”

One freshman was Kyle Shearer. He said at the end of the morning, “I think it was very good,” helping him learn about the   high school and make some new friends.

Nisha Labroo said it will help with the transition from middle school.

The morning included a variety of group activities and talking.

In addressing the participants, Lutsic told the incoming students “invest in yourselves every single day.”