Extra-curricular activities allow students to expand their horizons and keep learning and interacting long after the school bell rings at the end of the day. Learn more about popular after-school clubs and classes at these local schools.
St. Joseph’s Academy
Started in 2006, Angel Outreach at St. Joseph’s Academy offers students opportunities to help those in need and fulfill their service hour requirements, as well. Club members participate in various service activities, from preparing and serving a meal at Sts. Peter and Paul soup kitchen the second day of each month, to volunteering at Shriners Hospital. Each student pays $2 when they join the club, and five student officers and teacher/moderator Jane Garvin meet regularly to come up with new opportunities. Angel Outreach provides some 3,000 meals a year for the hungry, and the entire St. Joe community—students, parents, siblings, administrators, faculty and staff—is welcome to participate.
The MICDS LEGO Robotics Club aims to introduce students to the wonders of science, technology and engineering through a hands-on approach. Marking its third year in existence, the club has grown steadily in popularity, with 30 students in fourth through eighth grade meeting twice a week. Members learn the basics of the LEGO Mindstorms software and begin with programming robots to perform basic tasks, before moving on to designing more complex robots that navigate obstacles and complicated tasks. The club also offers older students the chance to teach and mentor younger students, and members will have the opportunity to participate in a Junior FIRST LEGO League this fall.
Thomas Jefferson School
Four years ago, a student came to music teacher Cindy Kessler with a request to start a rock band at Thomas Jefferson School. With an enthusiastic response from other students, the rock band evolved into a musical ensemble with a random assortment of instruments ranging from violin to accordion. The after-school club, led by student Celina Lee, features six to 15 members (depending on availability) of differing skill levels. Meeting every Wednesday afternoon, the students have free reign to choose the music (heavy on Asian pop currently), arrange performances four times a year and even write parts for various instruments.
New City School
Approximately one in every five students in grades one through six at New City School is learning chess. After running grade-level chess competitions for years, the school started an official program nine years ago after local chess enthusiast Joe Epplin encouraged New City parent Bob Schmidt to take his children to play in a tournament. Impressed by his children’s interest in the game, Schmidt created a team at the school. Today, there are 54 members, with 15 younger students in training, as they use the game to work on logic, strategy and mathematics. In 2012, New City won the state chess championships for both sixth grade and under and fifth grade and under.
In every meeting of Community School’s LEGO Robotics classes, students are challenged to Design, Build, Test. What started as a single class has grown into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels that meet once a week after school during fall, winter and spring sessions. The robotics classes, with an average size of 10 students, were originally taught by educators from Tufts University, but now are led by Community School faculty as they focus on engineering and design concepts. While beginner classes start by learning to create sturdy structures, advanced classes graduate to constructing and programming robots with various sensors that can navigate obstacle courses.
Providing both homework support and enrichment activities, Math Lab expands the mathematics offerings at Forsyth School. An after-school program that is part of Forsyth’s extended day, Math Lab meets twice a week, with students attending to complete homework, solve problems and play games of strategy with math teachers. Parents may enroll their children, but drop-ins also are welcome, and the program averages 10 students per meeting. Two teachers are on hand for each lab, enabling students to work on math challenges in small, focused groups.