Students in Pike County 'link' together for transitional high school mentor program

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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Incoming freshmen in schools across the Pike County Schools district will find a welcoming crew this year: a Link Crew.

A new program has been instituted in the high schools, using juniors and seniors to serve as mentors for the incoming freshman class.

The program will put freshmen in a group and assigning them a mentor who has been in their shoes. That person will help them navigate the world of high school.

"There's something that's lacking in our schools. Okay, and this is a program that's going to go ahead and build and enhance our community," said teacher and Link Crew coordinator Cinthia Compton.

She said the program is a "win-win" for everyone involved.

"While it is building our incoming freshmen, allowing them to have someone to walk them through the process of high school - which is scary by itself - it's allowing our seniors and our juniors to go ahead and be leaders," she said.

Those juniors and seniors were selected during the last school year based on their applications, teacher recommendations, and more. Those involved say it was a way to find students who truly want to see their peers succeed.

"I think that they will be positive mentors and role models for those students as they transition from elementary into high school," said superintendent Reed Adkins.

He said there has been feedback from parents who are excited to see the students entering their freshman year with friends by their sides. He said the program is also touching close to home for him since he has two children in the program.

"I'm excited for both of them," Adkins said. "One of them will have the opportunity to be a leader in a leadership role and the other, again, will have someone to look up to."

The upperclassmen began training Monday, joining at Johns Creek Elementary to learn how to lead the program on their own when they return to their respective schools later this week.

The Link Crew leaders in training will lead games and activities to help the students get to know each other and create bonds that will allow the transition into high school to be one to remember.

The preparations for Link Crew began with the school's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) program. The program paid for training sessions earlier this year, in order to bring the program to the schools.

"I really appreciate the GEAR UP Program and what it's doing for the Pike County Schools system," Adkins said.

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