Since the 1973-1974 school year Sikeston R-6 freshmen were considered part of junior high and attended school in that building. With the construction of the high school's Math and Science Center, which houses freshmen for their core subjects, the ninth graders are once again part of the high school.
So to help the incoming freshmen adjust to high school life, the school's counselors and 56 juniors and seniors offered assistance on Tuesday and Wednesday through a transition program called Link Crew.
Last year's freshmen were also invited to attend Link Crew on Tuesday because the high school is new to them, too.
"It's kind of like getting to know each other," said senior Sydney Dzurny, who served as a Link Crew leader, about the program.
Dzurny said the first day of high school is typically so hectic, especially for the new students who are just trying to find out where everything is and who everyone is.
"We did activities so they're not shy and to get to know each other," Dzurny said.
About 125 freshmen attended Wednesday's event, which was from 8 a.m. to noon at the Field House and Math and Science Center. A small amount of sophomores attended the program on Tuesday.
Throughout the program students participated in various get-to-know-each-
other activities while breaking into large and small groups. They were also given tours of the high school.
Freshmen Hannah Kean and Priya Patel admitted they were a little scared about starting high school today, but after attending Link Crew, they definitely felt more confident.
"It will make my first day better," Kean predicted Wednesday. "Just being around everybody helps."
Patel said the upperclassmen were very friendly.
De Bizzell, a senior and Link Crew leader, said having Link Crew when he started high school would have helped him out because he got lost on the first day and thought the campus was big.
He said he thought the freshmen were glad they attended the program Wednesday.
"I think the kids are having fun and getting to know the school. We need to do it again next year," Bizzell said.
Holly Livermore participated in Link Crew when she was one of 5,000 freshmen at a Florida high school. Knowing how much the program helped her, the now Sikeston High School senior served as a Link Crew leader over the two-day period. Livermore said she thinks next year the school should make it mandatory for freshmen to attend Link Crew.
Donning bright yellow T-shirts, Link Crew leaders were on hand today -- and highly visible -- to help out any underclassmen in distress.
The student-leaders had to undergo an application process to be selected for the position. Then they attended a two-day training to learn about being a leader, Kim Thornbrough, senior counselor, said.
Typically the only introduction to the new high school students receive is during enrollment, which was held before the end of the previous school year.
"One purpose of Link Crew is for the students to detach themselves from kids they're most comfortable with so they feel more comfortable with someone they don't know," Julie Bohannon, former freshmen counselor.
Link Crew is also about students taking more of a risk and trying new things, Bohannon said.
"We want them to be involved on a different level than they were in junior high," Bohannon said.
And there's another goal of the program.
Bohannon said: "At the end (of the program) they all made the commitment to stay together and graduate as a group."