LA PUENTE, CA – More than 200 Bassett High freshmen filled the school’s gymnasium during their back-to-school orientation on Aug. 8, participating in group activities with Link Crew mentors and learning about high school life.

Link Crew is made up of more than 60 juniors and seniors who become mentors to help freshmen adjust to the rigors of high school and have someone to reach out to throughout the school year. Bassett High School senior Rogelio Aguilera joined Link Crew because he believes that having a mentor is essential to the high school experience.

“Entering my freshmen year, there wasn’t a Link Crew at Bassett High and I had a hard time finding my classes,” Aguilera said. “As a Link leader now, I hope to be a friend to help other freshmen through their first year in high school.”

Freshmen had a special orientation the day before the start of school to meet their peers and mentors, who sported T-shirts reading, “Students Helping Other Students.” After introductions, students broke into smaller groups to talk about school life, activities and how they spend their free time. Link Crew members passed out a flier that detailed “What Every Freshman Needs to Know,” which the mentors compiled.

“The Bassett High Link Crew is here for the freshmen, to answer their questions and lend a helping hand,” ASB adviser and Link Crew coordinator Christina Topjian said. “Experience is the best teacher, and we have found that when new students hear something from their peers they believe it, it matters to them.”

After the group sessions finished, Link Crew members exchanged phone numbers and social media information with the freshmen, and let them know they could contact them at any time with questions or concerns. Throughout the year, Link Crew will conduct academic and social follow-ups, promote academic success and character development, and increase student engagement.

Bassett High introduced the Link Crew program in 2015. Bassett High counselor Sandra Torres, librarian Carina Olander and Topjian attended a three-day training seminar conducted by the Boomerang Project to become certified Link Crew coordinators.

“Thank you to our juniors and seniors who are taking on a mentorship role to lead our freshmen toward success,” Bassett Unified Interim Superintendent Debra French said. “Link Crew provides the opportunity for our students to guide their younger classmates, and create a welcoming environment at Bassett High.”


082217_BASSETT_LINKCREW1: Bassett High School Link Crew members lock arms with incoming freshmen during a back-to-school orientation on Aug. 8. Link Crew is made up of juniors and seniors, assisting freshmen on their first day of school and throughout the school year.

082217_BASSETT_LINKCREW2: Bassett High School senior and Link Crew member Rogelio Aguilera entertains a group of incoming freshmen, answering questions about high school life and putting the students at ease during a back-to-school orientation on Aug. 8.