Freshman English teacher Sydney Jensen knows the value of tradition. Every year she welcomes her students into the halls of Lincoln High with a simple and poignant activity that extends beyond the ordinary orientation.
The 2019 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, known for her popular TED Talk, explains the pillars of the school acknowledging how Unity, Diversity, Excellence and Tradition all work together to embody the school mascot, the Link.She challenges her students to think about what it means to be a student in a space that’s been used for teaching and learning for more than 100 years. She wants them to acknowledge the moment of entering this community. And, she encourages them to share their true self.
Each student writes an essay with a caveat – their essay can only contain six words and needs to represent their identity, goals, philosophy, ambitions, or hopes for the future. Everyone who’s ever been in Jensen’s class has made a link – with freshman students dating back to 2016 – and they are connected all together and hung up as a reminder of how the school is part of one big community.
This link activity itself has become a tradition where students revisit as they grow over the next four years, and it truly has become a symbol of what it means to be a Lincoln High Link forever.