Newtown High School opened its doors a week early for the incoming Class of 2017 on Wednesday, August 21, for a day of icebreakers, tours, questions and answer sessions, and opportunities to voice any concerns the freshmen might have about their four years of high school.
Members of both NHS’s faculty as well as current students who participate in the Link Crew program, which started at NHS three years ago, led small groups of students on tours around the school, both welcoming them and easing any of their fears about high school.
“They can come to us at any point throughout the school year,” rising senior and Link Crew leader Carley Ferris said. “We’ll have more events throughout the year to help them adjust to high school.”
Carley said that being a Link Crew leader involves three training days over the summer on how to be approachable and welcoming to the new students, as well as a commitment to being attentive to the needs of their new students during the school year.
Additionally though, Carley said that the commitment is worth it for the opportunities that result from it.
“A lot of my friends do Link Crew, but a lot of people I don’t know do it too,” she said. “It’s a great way to meet new people.”
Before the end of the day, students donning Hawaiian leis, party hats, and butterfly wings, all given to them by their respective Link Crew leaders, filed into the gymnasium for closing remarks.
Link Crew advisor Cheryl Lombardo called out the numbers given to each of the groups of students, which resulted in celebratory shouts as well as laughter as students competed with one another to be the loudest group.
After roll call, Ms Lombardo addressed the new students.
“We’re here to support you, help you reach your goals, and help you find the right track,” Ms Lombardo said.
NHS Principal Charles Dumais also spoke to the freshmen and their Link Crew leaders, sharing that the opportunities they will have during their time at NHS are very different than those that their parents had while they were new in high school.
“We have one piece of advice for you today, and that is to speak up,” Mr Dumais said. “We’re here to make sure your experiences get better every single day.”
Ms Lombardo then closed the day by displaying a dollar bill as a metaphor for the students’ time at NHS. She described that in possession of a dollar bill, we all have two options: to waste or to invest.
“Invest your time here at NHS,” Ms Lombardo said. “Don’t waste it.”