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After School Enrichment Program Cultivates New Skills in Students

Posted:
By Beth Rousseau.
One local elementary school is helping students cultivate new skills through its after school enrichment program, even though budget cuts four years ago threatened to end after school activities.

Fourth grader Austin Dewey has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. his passion for game play has given way to career aspirations.

Dewey says, "I want to program video games and be an artist I guess."

Austin is well on his way, developing his video game programming skills in an after school enrichment course at George F. Johnson elementary school.

Without the efforts of the school's PTA Austin may not have gotten that opportunity.

Principal Larry Dake says, "Go back about 3 or 4 years ago when budgets became very tight... many districts eliminated their enrichment programs and at George F Johnson the PTA took that on."

Brenda Mariano, Chair of the Enrichment Program says, "At that point we came up with this after school enrichment to offer our students extra education outside of school, extracurricular education."

Video game programming is just one of the twenty six different enrichment courses the school offers.

Dake says, "These kinds of programs get kids excited. Whether it's chess club, or whether it's balloon animals, or whether it's computer coding they're being challenged in different ways as well."

Allowing students like Austin to continue working toward their goals.

Dewey says, "I've just programmed about Flappy Bird. I'm trying to do like... maybe like mind craft game or terraria."