Ever since her first day of high school, sophomore Madi Bradley always wanted to be part of Link Crew. She remembers walking into the doors of East, wide-eyed and anxious to what high school was like. She had waited all summer for her first day and she was finally sitting in the auditorium with hundreds of other freshman, some familiar and some that were new faces. At first, she listened to principal Karl Krawitz and some teachers drag on how this was a beginning to a brand new chapter in her life and how everyone was going to have a blast. But none of what the teachers said helped relieve her anxiety. As the day progressed, she began to feel less worried and more familiar with her new school––this was mostly thanks to the Link Leaders.
“I had a great experience with my Link Leaders,” Bradley said. “It was kind of nerve-wracking coming to East. I had no idea how it was going to be and heard so many things about high school. Having the Link Leaders there to show us around and talk to us made the whole transition better. It was lots of fun and a great start to high school.”
Bradley remembers playing games with the Link Leaders and talking to them about what the kids really wanted to know about. She remembers her leaders telling her group about where to park their cars when they had one, how they warned them not to stand in the middle of the hallways and most importantly, warning them about some of the gruesome PDA. After realising how helpful those lessons were, Bradley wanted be a Link Leader and help the upcoming freshman become familiar with the school.
So when it came time to begin applying for the next year’s Link Leaders, it was a no-brainer for Bradley. She did all she could to get accepted and turned in her application along with the rest of sophomores and juniors with the hopes of getting accepted.
Unfortunately, a couple weeks after turning her application in, Bradley received a text from her mom saying that she didn’t make the Link Crew.
“It was very disappointing,” said Bradley. “I was actually recommended by a teacher to join Link Crew so I felt like I had a really good chance of making it. When I heard that I did not make it, I was really shocked and upset because I really wanted to be part of it.”
Bradley was one of over 100 cuts made to the Link Crew this year. This year there were 210 Link Crew applications turned in, which is a lot more than recent years. Less than half of those applications were accepted.
One of the main teachers in charge of deciding who does or doesn’t get accepted into Link Crew, Hannah Pence, says that there were a couple reasons for so many cuts.
“It was really hard this year because there were a lot more applicants than any other year,” Pence said. “It is nice to have that problem and to know that so many kids are interested in being part of this program”.
Pence said that the other reason for so many cuts was because and there were a lot less incoming freshman next year.
“There are about 400 projected incoming freshman for next year,” Pence said. “So if we have 400 to 450 freshman then we are only going to need about 90 leaders. We really don’t need more than two leaders for each group of ten kids,” Pence said.
Like most students that didn’t make Link Crew, sophomore Addie Anthony, was very upset.
“I thought I had a good resume and did all I could to try to become a link leader,” Anthony said. “I think I was one of the last kids to find out that I didn’t make it. It was late in the week and I was at a track meet when my mom sent me a text that I didn’t make it. It was pretty bad timing and I remember getting pretty upset. It took me a few days later to cool off and realise that a lot of other kids didn’t make it and it was not a personal decision.”
Even some juniors with the experience of doing Link Crew last August, like Andy Hiett, did not make the cut. Hiett had done all the work needed when he was Link Leader and filled out his application the best he possibly could but still got the rejection note. “I really wanted to do it this year because I had a lot of fun last year and wanted to get some service hours,” Hiett said. “I did not think it made sense that someone with no experience of being on Link Crew made it over someone who did all the training last year,” Hiett said.
Pence said that there are several teachers that judge students on whether or not the kid would make a good link leader.
“We looked at the applications and see what teachers say about them,” Pence said. “We want to know about everything they’ve done at East. If they are involved in a lot of clubs and programs at East, if they someone that could be a good example to the freshman. We really spend a lot of time seeing if they really have been a good student and role model at East. Even if you didn’t get accepted this year then that doesn’t necessarily mean you weren’t what we were looking for or won’t get accepted next year. They can always apply again next year.”
Shank, Anthony and Bradley all plan on applying again next and all hope that they can finally get accepted.
“Even though I am still a little upset and I will definitely apply again next year,” Bradley said.