The 300-plus ninth graders entering Chief Sealth International High School will have the campus all to themselves for the first half of the first day of school a week from tomorrow – well, except for their 70 or so mentors. Those students are who you see in our photos – all juniors or seniors, who will be back on campus today for their second day of training for the mentoring program known as Link Crew, which Sealth is using this year for the first time.
Last year, we covered Link Crew’s West Seattle High School debut; this year, it’s debuting at Sealth with the help of a grant the school obtained. That included covering the costs of training for the faculty who are in turn training the Link Crew mentors, who activities coordinator Sam Reed explains were chosen from about 120 applicants. This week, they’re spending two days practicing the sort of team-building exercises they’ll go through next week with the incoming Class of 2016:
As Reed put it, these students have been leading by example – and now, they will be leading by coaching. We talked with the Sealth senior who is serving as the group’s president, Frank Wenn (right). He told WSB that he applied to “help out” and to be “more involved” with what’s going on at school (not that he was exactly disengaged previously, as a football player [right tackle], baseball-team member, and International Baccalaureate program student). What message will he have for the freshmen next week? we asked. Frank said he’ll tell them not to panic about suddenly being in high school: “You’re not going to feel isolated. Everyone here is so friendly – it’s easy to make friends.” Frank and his dozens of fellow Link Crew mentors are working with five faculty members – along with Reed, they are Dean of Students Charlene Grisim, social worker Carrie Syvertsen, and teachers Kim Dinh and Luke Azinger. And even after that all-important first day of school on September 5th, the mentors will be touchstones for the freshmen throughout the year; maybe, a few years later, some of them will even sign up to be Link Crew leaders themselves.