EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Freshman at EVSC schools are wrapping up their first year of high school.
Many of them say it was a lot easier, thanks to a program that pairs them with upperclassmen.
Senior Kelsey Miller remembers being a freshman but says a transition program called the Link Crew made it easier.
"It was the best thing because you come into orientation and the upperclassmen make a tunnel and there is music playing," Kelsey says. "You just get pumped."
Now she is one of about 90 junior and senior link leaders at Central High School, where the program began five years ago.
They are paired up and then linked with about 10 freshmen.
First, there is orientation, with icebreakers and a tour of the school but it doesn't stop there.
"A lot of programs are just orientation and then, good, you're on your way.," Link advisor Chris Geiser says. "Ours incorporates the whole year."
That includes after school activities like Cocoa and Cram sessions that help freshmen prepare for another first, finals.
It isn't just academics, link leaders tackle some tough issues.
"We work with Youth First and talk about drugs and alcohol," Geiser says.
"We are the leaders of the school," Kelsey says. "We learn leadership skills with this program."
Kelsey says that doesn't mean upperclassmen don't participate in the time honored tradition of teasing the new kids.
"We can still pick on them every once in awhile, but overall we're there to guide them where they need to be."
Kelsey says that after getting help herself, she wanted to pay it forward.