The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Does Link Crew have substance?

Imagine you’re back to the start of freshman year at a brand new school filled with both familiar and unfamiliar faces. The terrifying prospect of new classes and the stress of making new friends engulf you. 

Although this may seem incredibly nerve-wracking, never fear! Link Crew is here to help you.

Whether as an incoming student at Libertyville High School or a junior/senior leader, many of us have heard of Link Crew in some shape or form. 

After starting in 2009 under the Boomerang Project, it has grown exponentially to include over 3,700 schools in 47 U.S. states and has helped over 1.8 million students nationwide. 

However, despite these impressive numbers, the backlash has grown exponentially amongst students at LHS over the past few years.

Although the aims of Link Crew – such as creating a positive school culture, supporting freshman with a welcoming connection,  providing upperclassmen with leadership opportunities and allowing for LHS traditions to carry on – are intended to be beneficial, there are areas in which the program could be improved. 



At LHS, the main purpose of the program is to help students adjust to the building and provide a place where freshmen can build relationships with other students. But its goals are not limited to just newcomers. Link Crew also encourages upperclassmen to participate in leadership roles with the promise of a graduation tassel and an excellent addition to college applications. 

However, becoming a leader is not as simple as some may think. After following a lengthy process that includes an anonymous teacher recommendation and an interview accompanied by other potential leaders, 60-70 juniors and seniors are chosen to help guide the next incoming class. 

Leaders must attend various meetings before freshmen orientation and weekly Monday sit-downs so they are well prepared and know the activities they will do with their groups, which typically include five to seven freshmen. 

These upperclassmen hold a lot of responsibility when it comes to showing them how the school works and engaging with the freshmen from August to December. Due to the length of the selection and training procedure, Link Crew advisors help find the most suitable pairings of upper- and underclassmen to ensure the latter’s success in high school.

Although this may seem like a lot of pressure, there have been moments where being a leader has been rewarding in aspects other than academic gain. Things such as bonding with the freshmen on a personal level or even seeing them grow from being shy to talking  to other members in their shared groups have brought Link Crew leaders satisfaction and joy.

But moments like these aren’t exclusive to just leaders. There are a lot of positive things to come out of Link Crew from freshmen perspectives too.

LHS is filled to the brim with traditions and social standards that may not be so obvious unless you have been a student or have had a sibling who has experienced them. 

Regardless, the likelihood of knowing every in and out of the school isn’t very likely, which makes Link Crew very useful socially. Events such as Homecoming week and Spirit Weeks may seem like a no-brainer to many, but often, freshmen may not know that the color they have to wear is green until Spirit Week begins.

Having a mentor-like person to always be there if you have any questions makes the experience of Link Crew worth it. It’s always nice to know someone is there to help you through your potential struggles and perhaps the meaning behind that may get lost with the repeated negatives people continuously bring up about the program. 

Regardless of the rigor behind every half-bell meeting, students grow relationships with people they may not even think to talk to. Maturing and realizing that the benefits of that contain more positives leads one to a greater appreciation for the program as a whole.


Room for Improvement

Although there are definite strengths and benefits to Link Crew, there is room for improvement. Amongst both leaders and those who experienced Link Crew for the first time, the main area for improvement was the contact time and overall substance of the program.

In many eyes, having to attend two half-period Link Crew sessions during the week, while also cutting your lunch in half – and perhaps separating you from your friends – made Link Crew feel like an inconvenience to some. This may be heightened due to the fact that a lot of students use their lunches as a study hall period and may have important tests where review time is cut by attending these weekly meetings.

Additionally, the substance can be correlated with contact time. Due to the space between Homecoming and finals week, there tends to be a lot of “filler activities” such as going outside and playing with parachutes, and numerous leaders’ choice days, to help bond groups together. 

However, the feedback given from both leaders and students say something different. Instead, these “fun” activities create an environment where Link Crew feels like a “chore” and the various tasks seem plucked from a middle school agenda. It may make freshmen feel like children instead of young adults. It takes away from the intended opportunity for them to spend time with upperclassmen who lead by example and help them learn what it means to be a high school student.

A solution to these issues may be to simply reduce the time spent on the program as a whole from an entire semester to just until the end of Homecoming week. This allows independence for freshmen after learning facts and tips about LHS from the weeks leading up to Homecoming. We also recognize that the first finals week is very important, thus a meeting or text two weeks prior to help aid and guide underclassmen for future exams could also be an idea the program can look into if it is shortened.

Overall, the Link Crew program has been a great addition to our school’s culture. It has introduced and helped a lot of students learn thus proving how positive the benefits can be. However, with a little more care to make the experience better for the wide range of students who participate in the program, it can hopefully become the best version of itself for the next incoming class.

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