Link Crew Changes for Semester Two 


Middleton High School

Link Crew Leaders at freshmen orientation day in August. For the second semester, Link Crew Leaders will only be required to attend freshmen advisories once a week for programming and connection with younger students.

Crystal Huang and Noelle Shen

Semester two brings about new changes for Link Crew. As of Jan. 24, 2023, Link Crew Leaders will only be required to attend freshmen advisories for the first B day of every week. 

The shift in attendance policy came out of discussions between Link Crew Leaders and advisors in the beginning of the school year, and over the winter break. The change is anticipated to continue and apply to future second semesters, with first semester Link Crew Leader attendance remaining mandatory each B day. Link Crew will also see administrative changes next school year, with Sierra Parce preparing to take over the role of coordinator as Matt Juracewicz steps down.

At the start of each academic year, new freshmen begin their high school journey. Starting high school can be a stressful experience, especially with such a large building to navigate. Fortunately, freshmen have a variety of resources available to guide them through their transition. One of the core pillars of that support system is Link Crew. 

Link Crew is a group of junior and senior students who act as mentors for freshmen students. Their role as older students is to provide advice and aid to freshmen in their transition to high school. About three Link Crew leaders are paired to each ninth grade level advisory and they meet with them every other day in advisory, along with attending certain events, such as orientation day and the homecoming tailgate, with their assigned freshmen.

Link Crew Leaders are widely appreciated by freshmen and their advisors for offering candid experience and answering any questions freshmen have. 

Freshman advisor Sara Schulz reflected that Link Crew Leaders in her advisory have made an active effort to “get to know each student individually,” contributing to a dynamic environment that gives freshmen a “sense of belonging” within the Middleton High School community.

Freshmen opinions on Link Crew Leaders are mostly positive, but varied. 

Some students are impassive to Link Crew Leader presence. Freshman Sophie Shi saw Link Crew’s presence in her advisory as mediocre, and she had no strong opinions on the matter. Similarly, Roman Rick said that although the Link Crew Leaders were a nice addition to advisory times, he did not feel as if they made a tangible impact on his experience. 

Other students feel that Link Crew has made their transition much more comfortable. Matthew Peters recounted his Link Crew Leaders helping him out with his schedule and playing board games in advisory. 

“I thought it was very nice to have more older students around,” said Peters. “They were more experienced and they helped me through my first semester of high school,” 

Matt Juracewicz, a teacher in the Physical Education department, has been responsible for coordinating Link Crew over the past four years. He organizes Link Crew Leader meetings, helps shape their goals and heads many of the freshmen events.

“My first year being Link Crew Coordinator ended with COVID hitting, so it was an interesting transition, but I think we really survived and even continue to thrive and make positive changes,” Jurasewicz said.

Jurasewicz is committed to making the Link Crew program one that can fully support freshmen and help them in acclimating to high school as best as possible. In this respect, Jurasewicz feels that freshmen should also have a chance to “spread their wings” in their second semester, noting that students will still have Link Crew in their advisories once a week.

The new policy Jurasewicz was referring to only requires Link Crew Leaders to attend their freshmen advisories on the first B day of every week, instead of attending every B day advisory per the semester one policy. The new attendance policy totals to around 19 B days in semester two.

The attendance change arose from discussions between Link Crew Leaders, ninth grade advisors and coordinators. Jurasewicz and Parce explained that the amount of dedication Link Crew Leaders require and show makes them miss out on their own second semester events, especially for seniors, who are graduating.

Jurasewicz and Parce also felt that the general consensus between advisors was that freshmen were able to successfully complete the school year without excessive guidance. 

“It will be a nice transition as we are starting to kind of develop our own relationships in this advisory, and as leaders are kind of stepping back throughout the semester,” Schulz said. 

Leo LaRico, a senior Link Crew Leader, reflects that the change could bring about both positive and negative effects. On one hand, he appreciates that the change gives leaders more freedom of choice, and on the other hand he worries that freshmen will be lost without as much guidance. 

As a whole, Link Crew Leaders appreciate the time that they are being given to connect more with students in their own grade; Link Crew Leaders are in freshman advisory during their grades’ lunch on Link Crew days. 

Kyler Mahoney, a junior Link Crew Leader, thinks that connecting with students once at the beginning of the week is enough, especially as freshmen are creating their own connections. 

“It would give us a little more time to see our friends and stuff during our lunchtime,” said Mahoney. “We’re missing our lunch time here, so it can be kind of hard for some people to be away from their friends.”.

The change to once per week Link Crew advisories is expected to continue into the future and will only apply to second semesters. 

“I think we’ve determined it’s really important for Link Crew Leaders to be a big part of their freshman advisories early on, especially September, especially October, November and December being a part of semester one — kind of keeping the status quo,” Jurasewicz said. “Then when we turn the corner, freshmen have a full semester under their belts, and we definitely want to allow freshman space to kind of feel their own competence and begin to transition into sophomore year.”

Another upcoming change is the shift of the Link Crew coordinator role from Jurasewicz to Parce. Jurasewicz is stepping down next year as he takes on the role of instructional leader for the Physical Education department. He sees stepping down as a “healthy thing to balance out” taking up a new role. 

Parce is a teacher in the Special Education department and has many goals for Link Crew as she transitions into the role of Link Crew coordinator. Although Parce has, as she puts it, “big shoes to fill,” she also has big goals for Link Crew Leaders. 

“Going into the next year, I’m really hoping to plan more events — like Link Crew’s going to be at this basketball game, we’re all going about helping to get freshmen more involved in events, as well as just working to integrate with more clubs like LSU and BSU and getting a more representative group of our actual student body as our Link Crew Leaders,” Parce said.

Jurasewicz agrees that diversity is one of Link Crew’s main focuses because Link Crew aims to create an inclusive environment that celebrates differences. He predicts Parce’s vision will have a great impact on school culture.

“I’ve no doubt Link Crew’s in great hands, and I’m excited to see where it goes, too,” Jurasewicz said.

Even as Link Crew enters semester two with all these new changes, it is doubtless that they will continue to strive to provide guidance and support, helping freshmen complete their first year and transition to their second as smoothly as possible.