Watch above: The transition process back to school can be daunting for students but a Saskatoon high school hopes to make it easier. Meaghan Craig introduces us to a mentor program to ease the stress of going from junior high to high school.
SASKATOON – Thousands of students are heading back to class on Tuesday. For many it can be a stressful experience but it doesn’t have to be.
“We are hoping that by welcome the Grade 9s here a day earlier that we can use the opportunity to build relationships and make those Grade 9s feel comfortable on their first day of classes so they already have a place at Walter Murray,” said Travis Myrol, a senior english teacher and link crew leader at Walter Murray Collegiate.
It’s a major leap from elementary school to high school for these new students.
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On Monday, even the empty hallways lined with lockers at Walter Murray seemed huge and intimidating, never mind when there’s hundreds of students surrounding you.
“I thought I was going to get lost,” said Mona Luo-Tatebe, an incoming Grade 9 student.
That’s exactly why more than two-hundred Grade 9 students going into Walter Murray spent their final day of summer getting used to the what life will be like for the next several years.
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Group after group of half a dozen to a dozen Grade 9 students toured the school, walking both inside and out to get a feel for the school. The teams were led by 46 seasoned senior students known as “link leaders.”
“When I came for the first time I had no idea what the school was like so I really had no idea where to go but now they have an idea of what the schools like, where to go, where the classes are and what not so I think it be easier for them,” said Hugh Luo-Tatebe.
Hugh is one of 46 senior leaders participating in the link crew program; three quarters of this year’s Grade 9 class also signed up.
“It’s nice to get an opportunity to have those incoming kids feel like they know an upper classman, they know a senior student that has their back, that’s there to support them. Sometimes it can be intimidating in such a building in such a big building if you don’t know that you place and link crew helps establish that comfort zone for those kids,” added Myrol.
These seniors aren’t just helping make this week’s transition a little easier and less stressful, they will be mentors throughout the entire first year.
“I would love to help them, I mean as a senior it feels good to pass on the wisdom of everything you’ve learned to them so that they could have a better chance,” said Grade 11 student, Manav Sabherwall.
It’s a back-to-school routine that will help these Grade 9 students sleep a little easier.
“It was really fun, they got to show us around, they made me feel welcome it was really nice.” said Mona.