Link Crew will welcome, mentor freshmen at our high schools

The inaugural group of Link Crew student leaders across Westerville’s high schools took their first steps learning how they can help support the newest members of their school community.

On a Thursday in late April 2024, students at Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South high schools connected with each other through team-building and ice-breaker activities as well as several games of tag. They were the same games they will manage when they welcome next year’s freshmen to school in the August for the 2024-25 school year.

The district is launching Link Crew, a year-long transition program that provides a structure in which freshmen can make real connections at their new high schools. Much like the sixth-grade-only first day of school at the middle schools, the high schools will kick off the start of the 2024-25 school year with a ninth-grade-only first day, where Link Crew student leaders will connect with a group of freshmen they’ll support throughout the year.

Studies show that students who succeed in their freshman year, particularly in their first quarter, are far more likely to excel throughout high school.

The program is a familiar one; It hails from The Boomerang Project — the same educational consulting company behind the Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program at all of the district’s middle schools.

Westerville Education Challenge, which raises awareness and supports social-emotional learning initiatives in the district, provided funds to bring the WEB program to all middle schools. The group also covered costs to support the Link Crew program.

—Story and photos by the Westerville City School District.


Link Crew is a premier high school orientation and transition program.

Freshmen receive year-long support from trained upperclassmen mentors.

The program welcomes freshmen and makes them feel comfortable throughout the first year of high school.

Link Crew Leaders guide the freshmen to discover how to be successful and help facilitate freshman success.

The program is built on the belief that students can help students succeed.

Link Crew is launching in all district high schools in the fall of 2024, supported by Westerville Education Challenge!

Leaders represent different populations of the school’s student body — athletes, Hope Squad leaders, band members, English Learners.

Link Crew fosters real connections between freshman and their new school, and builds self-esteem in leaders..

The program has a 20-year track record of increasing attendance, decreasing discipline referrals and improving academic performance.


Read more about the new Link Crew program

Click here to read the Westerville City School District story about upper classmen undergoing training to be Link Crew leaders this spring, “Crew student leaders prepare for new role”