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Incoming freshmen will get a taste of what student life is all about at Pioneer Valley High School.

The 5th Annual "Link Crew" orientation event kicks off today (August 9) at 8 a.m. and finishes up about noon at the campus, 675 Panther Drive. More than 600 freshmen are expected.

"It's about making them feel comfortable,'' said PVHS Adviser and Business Teacher, Marcie Guerra. “We want to establish a fun and trusting connection between our new learners, student leaders and PVHS.''

The day begins with a freshmen assembly outside the gym. Then, they are led inside and greeted by more than 160 student volunteers and mentors. Later, they are divided into groups and sent to classrooms where a collective theme is chosen.

In the past, some student leaders wore hamburger costumes while the newer students were dressed as french fries.

Another year, a student leader dressed as a chicken and the freshmen were the eggs. Many costumes are homemade.

From there, the incoming class is treated to a slew of fun and exciting activities while taking a school tour. Questions are answered, the stress of attending a new school diminishes and friends are made. The student leaders also perform mentor work by engaging the freshman throughout the year.

PVHS Senior and Link Crew Leader, Brent Dionisio, takes stock in easing the high school transition for others.

"Helping to guide incoming freshmen in the right direction, leading them to success and encouraging them to build up their confidence in a new environment is what I really enjoy,'' Dionisio said. “I want to make a change for our school to make it a better place so that when they become upperclassmen, they will do the same.''

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Superintendent, Dr. Mark Richardson, said it's exciting to have these young people join the SMJUHSD family.

"We are happy to welcome our new freshman class and encourage them to take advantage of all the opportunities our schools provide,'' Dr. Richardson said.

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NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or kplatt@smjuhsd.org. You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.