Getting Linked In

Nadine Abdelrahman, Media Writer

Nadine Abdelrahman
Members of the DV Link Crew help new students find their place on campus.

A sea of cheerful freshman scatter across campus to get a taste of the Thunder before their first day of high school, eager to figure out anything about their classmates, their teachers, rooms, and their new second home.

Aug. 3, known as Thunder Day, was organized by Desert Vista’s Link Crew. It’s a group of hand-selected juniors and seniors leaders who have the chance to guide incoming freshmen in a fun way.

“The purpose of link crew is to create a culture of inclusion and teamwork,” said counselor Kate Dowd who co-sponsors with counselor Mickey Krebs. Together, they prepare months ahead of the event.  “We find leaders who are willing to welcome and include all people to guide them not just that day, but the entire year.”

“Training starts in April when Ms. Krebs and I give the link leaders an idea for what this day is like. We basically just have a lot of fun!” Dowd said.  The Spring instruction is not just for link leaders to get a step ahead for their incoming friends, but also for them to be able to be in the same shoes as a freshman.

“We give them a two-hour session in which to give them an idea what it is like to be a freshman,” Dowd said.

Additional training days happens two days prior to the event. This is where the link leaders commit to ten hours out of their Summer for intensive activities that will help to welcome the incoming freshman in an engaging way.

“Training Days were a lot of fun and they did really well keeping us involved even though it was super early in the morning,” said senior Averie Kaske.

After the training, the link leaders are not quite ready to take the freshmen and run.  

“They [link leaders] go home and practice after training days so they don’t read off their paper when guiding the freshman,” said Dowd. The link leaders have to personally invite their group of 15 to make them feel welcome to DV.

One of the activities that they students did was to rearrange each group by height.

“The point of this activity was to remind all students that no matter who you are in general, you have a spot at DV,” Dowd added.

Corralling nearly 700 students, getting them where they need to go and having them learn what they need to do was no easy task to make a successful Thunder day.

“A lot of people goes into planning, such as the link leaders, custodians, having someone unlock the doors, we personally could not do it without everyone on campus,” Dowd said.

From beginning to end, the success of Thunder Day and its link leaders makes a good foundation for the rest of the year for the students who participate.

“I expect my freshman year to be pretty stressful, but fun at the end,” said Amelia Wilson, who although new to DV, was ready to get the year started.

At the end of the day, Link Crew was much more than just adjusting new students to their new life. It established a bond between the separate classes.

“It reminds us that we are Desert Vista and we are all coming together,” Dowd added.