Edina Zephyrus

Link Crew continues to facilitate connections at EHS with new “Culture Groups”

Ben Gustafson, print editor in chief

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After taking on the difficult task of introducing a 9th and 10th grade class to the high school, Link Crew is looking to build on its success by appealing to Link Crew Leaders’ individual interests and skills. Next year, Link Crew will be divided into four culture groups: Social Squad, Student Care, Gratitude Group, and Academic Coaches Empowering Students (A.C.E.S).

The Link Crew Coordinators created the culture groups as a way to foster stronger connections between link crew leaders and link crew coordinators. “It was really hard when we had 220 Link Crew leaders in the gym, and we saw them once every couple of weeks for 40 minutes. It was tough to make those closer, personal connections,” Link Crew Coordinator Jonathan Buckley said.

Social Squad, facilitated by Ryann Longley, will focus on fostering positive connections through social events, like Cocoa and Cram, smaller social activities between individual groups, and management of social media accounts. Student Care, facilitated by Allison Ronglien, will take on the role of welcoming new students and connecting with students who need support through personal reach-outs. A.C.E.S, led by Noah Franske, will provide academic support, similar to peer tutors, but on a more specific basis, and the Gratitude Group, led by Buckley, will recognize the value in every Edina High School student by positively spreading kindness through things like goody bags and Post-it Note words of encouragement.

Buckley has already kicked off the Gratitude Group this year, meeting weekly every Wednesday morning, to get some experience with a culture group before next year. “We’ve seen some good connections with the Gratitude Group that we put together. That group I’ve gotten to know really well, and I have such good strong relationships that we can be more effective at delivering programs and services that Link Crew wants to deliver,” Buckley said.

Ultimately, the goal of the Link Crew is to facilitate stronger bonds between the upperclassmen and freshmen. With only one new class entering the high school next year, achieving this goal should come a little easier.  “We are trying to make sure our students feel valued and appreciated. No matter what goes on in their day at EHS, we want them to know that they matter, and we want to be positive and encourage them while they’re here,” Buckley said.

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About the Contributors
Ben Gustafson, print editor-in-chief

Ben “BennyGeezy” Gustafson came into this world on Thanksgiving of 1999 (unfortunately the hospital food wasn’t exactly the Thanksgiving dinner that his parents were looking forward to). Of his many achievements, Ben believes his most impressive was finishing in 3rd place at the 2008 Minnesota State Cup Stacking Championships. When asked about his flaws, Ben responded by quoting his greatest role model Michael Scott; “I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll hit someone with my car” (As a matter of fact, Ben failed his driver’s test twice). After much discussion, Ben also revealed to me his greatest weakness: milk. It has been rumoured that if Ben comes within 6 kilometers of milk, he develops a severe case of “Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.” Despite never making it past his first and only trumpet lesson in fifth grade, Ben does listen to music occasionally. His favorite band is a close tie between Mumford and Sons and Mouse Rat. One of Ben’s interests is politics, especially global politics, so he spends a lot of time reading The Economist. However, he admits that he only reads it for the “pretty pictures.” Ben is also a regular at the Kenneth Rosland pickleball courts in Edina. He is usually the youngest person at the courts by about 50 years. Among his other hobbies are swatting mosquitoes, rippin’ twine, and jumping into bodies of water (he hopes to someday master the “squirrel dive”). In any case, Ben is looking forward to a great year on Zephyrus!

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Uma Bhati, photographer

When she’s not marching in Edina’s Marching Band or preparing for a DECA competition, Uma Bhati can be found smashing birdies on the badminton court and henna-ing for her closest friends. She is secretly good at playing the ukulele and also has a secret fear of butterflies. Seriously though, who has a fear of butterflies, they are harmless and beautiful creatures. But really – she will cry if she sees one. Some may say she is a little tiny nugget, but she sure does have a lot of strength. She’s party size! This summer, she embarked on a 25 day sea kayaking journey and loves to camp. Not only is she adventurous, but also extremely artsy. Her Instagram feed is consistent and on point, check her out and give her a follow @umabhati. She’s one of Zephyrus’ amazing photographers and is really good at letting you know how you look in the pictures. She will make you look good even if you don’t, using one of her super techy photography editing apps. Overall, if you want to learn how to letter in badminton, take a good selfie, or run away from butterflies, Uma is your girl.

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Link Crew continues to facilitate connections at EHS with new “Culture Groups”