After a difficult year of virtual learning and not being actively in contact with other classmates, the fantasy of having the traditional in-person freshmen orientation became reality when the news broke out that it was going to happen.
“I received the news of the possibility of having an in person orientation around the end of february near the first week of march” said Activities Director, Erin Fekjar. It was an exciting time for everyone that was involved with Link Crew as this was an experience that most thought would not be possible this school year.
The excitement was present with Commissioner Dylan Berstein expressing his feelings after hearing the news of the freshman orientation. “I absolutely freaked out. To be told that we get to do an in-person orientation was one of the greatest thrills of this entire year,” said Berstein.
The news breaking out to the crew was a mixture of excitement but also very much anxiety, as it was a short time span to prepare for everything leading up to the big day. “Everybody was excited about the opportunity to meet the freshman but with less than six weeks, it was a freakout zone,” said Fekjar. The process was very efficient as Link Crew only had six solid weeks to prepare. The crew had to notify people and make sure people RSVPed, then making sure all the logistics were in place and finally making sure everything ran well during the month of April.
Preparing for the orientation was a bit of a struggle with many challenges that The Crew had to face during the process of making sure everything went smoothly for the orientation. “Normally we have orientation in the big gym, however due to the Covid guidelines, we had to move it to the stadium which was a difficult process to have to rewrite the orientation for virtual orientation that we did earlier in the year and then have to do it all over again for this outdoor orientation,” said Fekjar.
Bernstein also shared some drawbacks when it came to preparing for the orientation as “the planning process was very stressful, because all of our means of communication that we used in the beginning were rendered obsolete, so just communicating instructions to the entire Link Crew was a massive struggle.” Scheduling was another major issue when it came to preparing for the orientation since “all sports were in season, so rallying everyone up was practically impossible… We didn’t get to have everyone from the original group to take part, I will regret that.” said Bernstein.
Fortunately for The Crew, as the day of the orientation approached, the excitement was also increasing. “I think it was pretty exciting for the freshman when it came to finding out that they would get a proper orientation” said Fekjar. “When it was announced, it immediately brought up the amount of freshmen returning to school,” said Berstein. He further explained about the freshmen’s excitement by stating, “Freshmen had nothing to return to. They had never experienced Wilson. I heard there was a massive amount of hype which got me even more excited to put the orientation on.”
The turnout was phenomenal despite the conditions with the ongoing pandemic. “It was one of the most beautiful things I ever got to experience at Wilson,” said Bernstein. “We got to be the freshmen’s first Wilson experience. There is no greater honor than that.”
There were a few things that unfortunately could not happen this year due to the current guidelines with Covid. “If we could have extended the time for the orientation, had a barbeque, and had dodgeball, that would have been great for the orientation but due to the guidelines, we were unsure about the possibility which was devastating,” said Fekjar. Bernstein also shared about the turnout, despite the numbers being very good, it could have been higher. “Normally over 90% of the freshmen attend, with this year we were only hovering around 50% due to Covid,” said Bernstein. “We are in a different world so it’s what is to be expected.”
After the huge success of the freshmen orientation, Fekjar shared her strong appreciation for the senior crew that fought through this difficult time and still made this big event happen. “I would have to say that after 15 years of ever having Link Crew, this crew was the very first to have ever pulled off 2 Link Crew Orientations in the same year which was so phenomenal to me.” Said Fekjar. “I want to thank every single one of them from the bottom of my heart for bringing the strong spirit of the Shiwaka and I’ll always remember them for always making it a great day to be a bruin.”
Bernstein also expressed his appreciation for everyone involved in The Crew. “The Commissioners, Coaches, and Cheer Folk this year had to do more than any other class of their kind in the program’s tenured history. They deserve all the credit in the world for their dedication, their professionalism, and their ability to pivot through anything,” said Bernstein. “It has truly been the honor of my life to serve alongside every single one of them, and it would be prudent to make every one of their names known to the entire school population, especially the freshmen, so that they know who worked as hard as they did to make everyone’s year a great one to be a bruin!”
The hard work and dedication that came from the Commissioners,(Dylan Bernstein, Grace Evans, Miguel Gonzalez, Sanaa Walker, Brett Abudayyeh, Maddy Diaz, Jadyn Canepa, Phillip “PJ” Jefferson, Maddie Tadd, Serena Sou, and Saul Beltran) Coaches,(Georgina Tapia, Kelly Sarceno, Brynn Anderson, Alexis Choda, Asia Martin, Kennedy Barrett, Connor Fellows, Brianna Zobler, Brianna Torres, Christian Thompson, Katherine Olvera, and Luke Beshoff) and Cheer Folk(Jeremy Kline, AJ Castano, and Aliyah Carr) is very honorable for their names to be remembered in the history of Wilson’s Link Crew. “Link Crew always exceeds my expectations, which is why Link Crew is and always will be my favorite thing to do ever,” said Fekjar. “Once again I want to say thank you to all these amazing people!”