Bear Guides roll out a black and gold carpet for freshmen
By Melanie Terez, 14
It was a sweltering hot day on Aug. 20 when over 400 freshmen made their first of many pilgrimages to UAHS. Upperclassmen “Bear Guides” in black T-shirts stood by, ready to assist bewildered students and lead them in peer-to-peer bonding activities.
This new Bear Guides program is seen by several program leaders as an improvement from the previous years’ Link Crew program due to its focus on informality and student-to-student relationships. UAHS made the switch from Link Crew to Bear Guides due to the failure of the 2012 levy. Because UAHS no longer owns the rights to use Link Crew’s copyrighted material, Bear Guide leaders were forced to brainstorm many new activities and characteristics for UAHS’s freshmen program. This led to the creation of the Bear Guides program.
Freshmen orientation day aside, the Bear Guides have high hopes for how the 2013-14 school year will pan out. Bear Guides leader, junior Yijia Liang explains the year-long goals that the Bear Guides leaders have for current UAHS freshmen.
“Ultimately, what I think it could turn into is a year-long [program] where the freshmen and the upperclassmen are just bonding as friends,” Liang said.
The Bear Guides leaders are hoping to extend the program beyond freshmen orientation day and a day similar to Cocoa and Cram (a two-day after-school event to help freshmen study for midterms, which will be renamed this year) with the goal to host one unique activity for freshmen per month. The UAHS spirit club is working to instill a sense of golden bear pride in the freshmen.
Bear Guide and UAHS senior Becky Tang mentions the first monthly Bear Guides activity, as well as what the leaders hope to carry out in the future. September’s activity was the freshmen tailgate at a football game, and the Bear Guides also have plans for another big activity later in the school year.
“They [also] wanted to do something like community service for the freshmen with their Bear Guides in the spring,” Tang said.
While Tang and Liang believe Link Crew was helpful in transitioning from middle school to high school, there are changes they wish had been made to the program sooner.
“[Being a] Link Crew [leader] as a junior was really strict… They told us specific directions for each of the games… and you could not deviate from it at all,” Tang said. “I think the best part [of Bear Guides] was because it was so informal this year, you could really get to know your freshmen on a lot more personal basis. I’m not friends with any of the [freshmen] I met my junior year [but] the freshmen I have this year are saying hi to me in the hallways a lot.”
UAHS freshman Kyra Jung agrees that the Bear Guides freshmen orientation day was beneficial.
“I thought that this day was helpful [for] me. I think just because I didn’t really know the school, just walking the halls [helped] me to know the school a little bit better. Also, I thought it was helpful [that] the upperclassmen [were] there helping me,” Jung said.
While several changes could still be m
ade to the program, Tang believes that freshmen orientation day went fairly well, especially given that is only in its first year, but still has room for improvement.
“…Given that it was the first year, [the Bear Guides] did a really good job,” Tang said.