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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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Welcome crew founded to support transfer students

The Welcome Crew was founded this year by senior Link Leader Bennett Goldmacher to welcome students transferring into Tamalpais High School.

The Welcome Crew was founded by senior Link Leader Bennett Goldmacher this year as a branch of the Link Crew program to welcome transfer students into the Tamalpais High School community. 

Goldmacher, as well as eight Link leaders, ran an orientation the day before school began for the 58 students transferring into Tam. The orientation contained similar activities that Link Crew organizes for incoming freshmen. 

“[The orientation] was really helpful. I liked that it wasn’t too long, but I was able to see a lot of the campus,” sophomore transfer student Adeline Scheer said. “It felt good to go over my schedule with [the Link Leaders] and find out where my classes were.” 

Goldmacher sent out a survey to transfer students at orientation to get a sense of who didn’t already have connections at Tam. Students who responded without connections were partnered with Welcome Crew leaders to build a friendly relationship over the first few weeks of school. This entailed introducing the student to other people their age as well as programs in which they might be interested. 

“I told the Welcome Crew leaders to invite the transfer students to lunch with [them] every day for a week. Just hang out with them, introduce them to new programs, and make them feel comfortable,” Goldmacher said.

Scheer said she has gone to multiple lunches with her Welcome Crew partner and junior at Tam Tula Peltz, who explained she introduced Scheer to some of Peltz’s friends and heard all about her school experience. 

“[Adeline] seems like she’s already made a ton of friends already and it’s just been really cool to get to know her. I hope that as the year goes on, we can keep on getting lunch,” Peltz said. 

Goldmacher organized a Welcome Crew lunch event for transfer students on Sept. 20. The group consisted of a variety of grades and had some icebreaker activities facilitated by Link Leaders. At the end, transfer students received a Link Crew bag and some Tam High stickers. 

“I feel it went well because everybody there had someone to talk to,” Goldmacher said. 

Before Welcome Crew existed, transfer students’ counselors would reach out to Link leaders to give campus tours, but that was the extent of support for them. 

“The general narrative is that people at Tam are really nice, but it is really hard to build meaningful connections with people that move beyond the classroom,” Link Crew advisor Abbey Levine said. “There’s a ton of research that states when students don’t feel connected to their school community; it impacts how they feel in classrooms. You might not try as hard, you might not show up to classes, and you might be less confident, which bleeds over into how you show up in other areas of your life.”

Goldmacher was not a transfer student himself, but throughout his years at Tam he had been the unofficial partner for some transfer students, some of whom he is still friends with today. These experiences led him to found Welcome Crew. 

It hasn’t been easy, he said. Goldmacher is navigating the rewards and difficulties of leading the Welcome Crew program while providing support for as many transfer students as possible. 

“A lot of transfer students have fallen through the cracks. That’s something I’m planning on fixing,” he said. “I also had problems recruiting sophomore [Welcome Crew leaders]… There’s a lot of sophomores that I had to partner up with juniors — which isn’t bad — but I think there’s power dynamics, especially in a new school.” 

Despite these challenges, he and Levine said they are thrilled with how the program is going so far. Goldmacher described his team as going “above and beyond,” in making this year’s transfer students feel comfortable with the little time they had to plan. 

For now, Goldmacher said his short-term goals involve continuing to group transfer students with Welcome Crew leaders. Long-term, he wants to work with counseling to make sure no transfer student is left behind. Moreover, he wants to support transfer students at other schools by spreading the Welcome Crew idea around the district. 

“I don’t want to see anybody eating alone at lunch, unless they choose to. I really don’t want people worrying about where they stand socially because we have so much other stuff in our life to worry about.” 

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