Most of us were top of the food chain in middle school as eighth graders, but, that's not the case in the Ken-ton school district.
it hasn't been for 3 years now.
The district brought 8th grade into high school during its consolidation, but the leadership knew that was going to be hard on the younger students to adjust.
Kenmore East and West High schools now have what's called the "link-crew" program.
Dozens of upperclassmen apply and spend weeks training to be advisors to 8th graders who are newer to high school.
Then during one day during the summer, upperclassmen spend a day doing ice-breakers and letting the students get to know each other, and their mentor that will support them throughout the academic year.
Jimmy Santowski is a senior now, but he was in the first class that had to the transition, and start high school earlier during that merger 3 years ago.
I think for a lot of reasons it was more intimidating. Because, there was always that stigma of, ‘this is high school, it's time to grow up,’ said Santowski,
“But now that there's 8th graders at the school, I feel like it's a little easier to transition in.”
The program is designed like a ‘Big-brothers big sisters' program.
“The idea behind it is, we partner them up with two leaders and throughout the year they more or less shadow them, act as a big brother, we have social functions, academic follow-us we have them teach classes to them,” said advisor and organizer Michael Meetze.
Many students apply to be a link-crew advisor in the following years, as well.
It’s a tough vetting process, but there are a variety of students selected.
Kids with A-averages and C-grade averages… to help have a diverse group to fit all student experiences.