October 25, 2011
Halton District School Board senior students were busy being leaders last week in their attempt to help Grade 9s make the transition to high school much easier. Students from the Link Crew program at Oakville Trafalgar High School – referred to as Link Leaders – held a cool and delicious event this week to welcome Grade 9s to their new environment. Unaware of the fun event on Tuesday, the first year secondary school students were invited to the school’s cafeteria to grab a spoon and dig into a 100-foot-long plastic eavestrough full of Neapolitan ice cream. They did indeed scream for ice cream, and Kyle Pope, head of guidance at Oakville Trafalgar, said the afternoon fun was “excellent”.
To view pictures set to sound and music of the ice cream event, click here
“It was exactly as we anticipated and served the purpose for which it was intended. The purpose of this and other social events for the Grade 9s is to help connect them to the school, to one another and to help them bond together as a class,” Pope said, adding he was thankful of local business support to make the event happen. “I heard a Grade 9 male student comment it was an awesome way to end the day. The students had fun, had a chance to mingle and talk with friends and see that their Link Crew leaders are still involved and available for them should they need support for any reason.”
Link Crew is a high school transition program provided by the Santa Cruz, California-based Boomerang Project. With the help of teacher supervision, Grade 9s are made to feel comfortable in the first year of their high school experience via guidance from Link Leaders who have experienced the nervousness of starting high school. Various activities and events are held throughout the school year to emphasize a sense of togetherness.
The Link Crew program also hits on a few important curriculum points in subjects like civics and physical education, and addressing bullying prevention and respect for differences messages. It also teaches students valuable life lessons.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Halton District School Board held its annual Link Leaders conference at Nelson High School. Around 260 students from 14 high schools made the trip to the New Street building to take part in their own team-building activities to help reinforce the positive work they do and that “they are part of a really big community of leaders in the board,” said Moira Chisholm, Instructional Program Leader and Grade 8-9 Newcomer Transition at the Board. In addition to the team-building component, students learned skills to create an inclusive space so Grade 9s feel they can be themselves.
Micah Jacobson, a co-founder of The Boomerang Project, was the guest speaker. A sought-after, highly engaging speaker, he makes frequent appearances at leading education conferences around the world, sharing his perspectives on the ethics of reciprocity, experiential learning and the complex issues of school transition. He was a trainer with the United Nations Global Youth Forum, and was selected as a Youth Trainer at two Global Youth Summits.