By: Natalie Fleeser
To some people, the LINKS program may seem like a class to help another student, but that ends up being such a small part of it. Links is a class at Grandville High School, in which a student is linked with another student who may need help in class, or may just need a buddy there with them. “A lot of people think that LINKS is a class where you tutor a student who needs help, but really it’s a class that you take to be a friend and be of emotional support to another student,” said Grace Blauwiekel, a GHS senior and first year LINK member.
Another misconception is that LINKS is an easy, blow-off class, when in reality it’s not. Students have around two assignments weekly on Google Classroom that relate to understanding more about the spectrum. Although there is work, it is definitely not a heavy workload.
Although LINKS is still quite new to GHS, there is already noticeable, positive changes in the students involved. Mr Workman, a LINKS teacher said, “Students who before didn’t talk to anybody, are now walking around in the hall, people are talking to them, and they’re talking to other people.” LINKS helps build the confidence of these students. As a result, they are conversing more and it makes them much more included and directly involved.
“LINKS makes me feel like I’m not alone. It gives me someone who will always stick by me,” said Ahjani Ely-Clark, a freshman at Grandville High.
“LINKS teaches you life skills and it also teaches you about who you are and who you want to be,” said Dan Jakubowski, also a LINKS teacher.
Being surrounded by students with certain disabilities gives a whole new perspective. This is also a subject that more people should be aware of. “Links can change you as a person. Not only is it really fun, but you get to make a new friendship,“ said Sydney Spicuzza, another first year LINKS member.
This course is a great opportunity to meet new friends, learn more about the spectrum and learn more about these students as individuals.