'Holt Ram Crew' eases freshmen into the high-school experience

 'Holt Ram Crew' leaders prepare to meet with incoming freshmen.
'Holt Ram Crew' leaders prepare to meet with incoming freshmen. (WILX)
Published: Aug. 23, 2019 at 5:12 AM EDT
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In this edition of Schools Rule, WILX News 10 is highlighting a program that hopes to make a pretty big life transition easier for students.

Starting high school can be intimidating, but with Holt High School's 'Holt Ram Crew,' they're hoping to ease the change for freshmen by pairing then with students who have gone before them.

"We really just want to lower the stakes and make this a place where people can be themselves and have fun," said Gretchen Gibbs, a teacher at Holt High School who implemented 'Holt Ram Crew.'

For lots of students, starting high school can be scary, exciting and downright nerve-wracking. So Holt High School has paired their 450 incoming freshmen with student mentors.

"I think research has shown that that freshman transition year is one of the hardest years," said Brandon Currin, a teacher at Holt High School who also helped to implement 'Holt Ram Crew.' "So to give them an opportunity to have them meet new people, I think is perfect and matches what our mission here at Holt High School is."

At Freshman Orientation, students got to meet their mentors and got to know each other before the school year started.

"To not know anybody or not really know how things work so having somebody to know their name and knowing their story-it makes it much more comfortable for them to put themselves out there and out of their comfort zone or ask for help when they need it," said Gibbs.

It's made possible with lots of hard work.

"We have an excellent staff here at Holt Public Schools and a lot of times we have content experts as teachers," explained Lucas Schrauben, Director of Secondary Programs. "When you're working with young adults nowadays they don't care if you know about your content if they don't feel you care about them."

Gibbs and Corrin were instrumental in implementing 'Holt Ram Crew.' For their training, they actually went through all the steps their freshman are taking.

"I have taught freshmen since day one here at Holt High School, so freshmen to be are one of the best age groups to work with," said Corrin. "So when they needed people to start this program I signed up right away. Anything to make that freshmen transition year is easier is something I wanted to be on board with."

Freshmen and their mentors meet at the beginning of the school year but 'Holt Ram Crew' doesn't stop there. Students will meet up throughout the school year.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.

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