What sophomores don’t see

Read on to peek behind the scenes of being a Link Leader.


Submitted Photo

Members of Link Crew attend a conference at Hatboro-Horsham High School.

TOWAMENCIN – Behind the scenes of sophomore orientation, monthly visits, and a year full of school activities lies the hard work and commitment Link Leaders put in every day that often goes unnoticed by sophomores.

The month of August not only means the end of summer, but also the beginning of Link Crew at North Penn High School. Link Crew is a program designed to welcome the sophomores into the school with open arms. Members of Link Crew are trained at the beginning of August and every month after that to be able to guide the class of 2022 through one of their biggest transitions in life. From sophomore orientation to scheduled visits throughout the year, the sophomores are equipped for success with the help of their leaders by their side. To become a Link Leader is a process that highlights the top tier of students that reflect everything that is honorable about North Penn.

“Teachers have nominated students they feel exhibit a positive, leadership role in classes, and students can apply as well without being nominated.  Students then apply, applications are reviewed, and the group is selected based on positive characteristics such as a strong work ethic, friendly and outgoing personality, and an eagerness to learn and better themselves,” stated Link Leader co-advisor and teacher Kathryn Grunmeier. 

Sophomore orientation is always a big success for the program. The sophomores arrive at school as they would on the first day and enter the gym to the enthusiastic cheers from the Link Leaders. As the day carries on, the sophomores are put into groups with Link Leaders to participate in icebreakers and activities with fellow peers who will be in their Knight Time class throughout their time at the high school. It is a long day for the Link Leaders, and to put on a full day for the sophomores while trying to keep them engaged seems harder than you think.  

“I think that the sophomores respond better to orientation because it is their very first day and they have no idea what to do rather than participate. Once we get into the year, they want to focus on doing their work and it can be harder to get everyone to participate,” responded Core Link Leader Brandi Marlin. Core Link Leaders are a select group of Link Leaders who demonstrate further leadership characteristics.

Orientation ends and school begins – so what’s next? Throughout the course of the year, as Link Leaders meet up with their sophomores in their Knight Time classes, some things may feel ‘off.’ The program is designed to get sophomores engaged in high school and acclimated to high school life, but staying connected with sophomores gets harder and harder.

“A few of the activities the sophomores participate in both at orientation and KT tend to be a bit simple and elementary, which may make it hard for the high schoolers to stay interested,” voiced Core Link Leader Katie Early.

Being a Link Leader is more challenging than meets the eye. It is a very big commitment to take on and puts a lot of pressure on their shoulders to succeed and to guide underclassmen. It takes a lot of hard work to put together 40 minutes sessions with the sophomores, and when they don’t participate or engage in what you are trying to teach them, it’s not always an easy pill to swallow.  

“Getting the sophomores to participate in activities and understand the meaning behind them [is a big challenge].There are some really great lessons that are behind the discussions and activities we do during Knight Time, but because sophomores don’t want to participate, it can be hard to get them clearly across,” stated Marlin.

In order to help Leaders overcome the hurdles they may face with their sophomores, Link Leaders attended the Link Leader Conference at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Wednesday, November 6th. At the all-day event, Leaders from all different high schools got together to meet other Link Leaders and to learn different strategies and lessons that have worked well in the classroom. 

“I went to the Link Crew Conference two years in a row and it is a great experience. Everyone is so outgoing, and it’s such a great opportunity to have interaction between different schools in our area. We learn something different every year, and this year we learned how to be smarter about presenting our activities and talking with sophomores. We go through so many activities, and there is always something we can take and then use in our own classrooms,” responded Marlin.

Even though at times the efforts of Link Leaders can be dismissed by sophomores, their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and is still appreciated. Without Link Leaders, North Penn would be missing a sense of leadership in the hallways, and sophomores wouldn’t be as prepared for their first year of high school in such an overwhelming environment.

“Entering NPHS can be intimidating to anyone with our size and the amount of opportunities available. Having Link Crew and Link Leaders can help students navigate their experience a little easier with having upperclassmen as a friend and a positive peer mentor they can turn to for advice,” concluded Grunmeier.