The truth behind the turquoise shirts: Link Leaders


Lyndsey Case, Staff Writer

Being a freshman in a school with over 1300 teenagers can be terrifying to say the least. Luckily, starting with the class of 2018 about 81 students can make that transition from locker decorations and one-floor classes into the world of stairwells as packed as Times Square a little bit easier. For about 14 hours during the summer, a select group of upperclassmen began training to become Link Leaders.

Link Crew is a club first introduced to Portage Northern by teacher Colin Killmer in order to help freshman begin to feel more familiar and welcome in our high school. “Students who are socially connected to the school, and who feel that someone in the building genuinely cares about them are more likely to be successful in high school and college,” Killmer said.

Eighth graders coming from a neighboring middle school, such as North Middle School, may have a more comfortable transition into Portage Northern than a small, private school such as Gagie, located in Kalamazoo.

“Coming from such a small school I knew everyone, whereas here, there are people in my IB classes who I am just meeting for the first time, said Reece Brosco (11). When you grow up in a school where you are in pretty much the same classroom and with the same classmates from Kindergarten to eighth grade coming into a school as big as Portage Northern can be a bit of a challenge, even for someone as outgoing as Reece Brosco.

“I joined Link Leaders because at my first day of school I had a blast, meeting new people and making new friends, but I know that’s hard for some people. My goal was to make the first couple of days for my freshman fun and inviting so they could enjoy their transition into high school”, said Brosco (11).  First day of orientation freshman first arrived in the Igloo greeted with a wave of high fives, cheers, and chants. They were then taken into groups with two leaders and other classmates. “The best part about freshman orientation was meeting new people and friends”, says Zainab Fayyaz (9). For the rest of the duration of time, the small groups played games too; remember names, know more about each other and learn life lessons. “It was fun to get to know more about people in my group,” said Grace Cummings (9).

For all freshmen, there is some aspect of high school to worry about, and it is every Link Leaders goal to make them feel at home. “I would love for our freshman to realize that their success is in their hands, and that our entire school is eager to help them achieve, “says Killmer. “My goal is to make sure that every in-coming freshman can have a safe and easy high school career because it all starts with how you carry yourself that first year,” said Malena Harlan (12).

Regardless if you had older siblings that attended Portage Northern or if you are somehow an expert at pushing through the stairways, whether it’s how to get to class, the homework pileup or social norms that can trip you up, the Link Leaders are there to help.