APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Wednesday morning, students at Appleton North High School headed back to class.
“Coming in my freshman year, I know I was a little scared, a little worried to meet all these new people and take all these tough classes,” Michael Gilligan, a new senior told Local 5.
These seniors remember when upperclassmen helped them make the transition into high school.
“They guided me through my schedule,” says Joseph Chau, another senior. “They showed me around the school, you know. They were like older siblings kind of in a way, and I wanted to replicate that for the incoming freshmen.”
Getting the Link Crew program back up turned out to be a pretty popular idea.
As a part of the program, junior and senior leaders lead freshmen and new students through ice-breaking activities, tours of the school buildings, and a roundtable discussion.
“We released the application on like a Friday,” senior Maya Blumenthal explains, “and by Sunday night we had over 90 people apply.”
New Appleton North Principal Ryan Peterson was impressed by the response.
“[I’m] Just absolutely overwhelmed that they were able to pull together what they did today,” he recounts, “and we were able to remove some barriers and challenges that we thought would be there and provide just an amazing first morning for our new students.”
It’s also a new start for the seniors, who haven’t had a completely normal school experience for a while.
“With junior year, we had a rough start to the year,” says senior Mehul Rangbulla. “We had to do everything virtually, we couldn’t really connect with like the freshmen. It was a little bit of a different experience.”
Their freshman year was the last school year prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
“[I’m] hoping that we’re able to bring the joy and the energy that we were able to receive freshmen year, and give it to the freshmen and new students this year,” says Zachary Munsen.
According to senior Kylungmin Lee, the Link Crew program is just as beneficial to the upperclassmen.
“This inspires also the upperclassmen I think to just stay involved and be proud that we’re North students,” he explains.
Inspiring upperclassmen, and the new students, who may someday want to emulate them.
“In two years, maybe they’ll want to do this,” says Meg Male. “Maybe they’ll want to lead the new freshmen, the new future of Appleton North.”