ST. PARIS – The public is invited to attend the Lights On Afterschool event at Graham Middle School and High School from 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event aimed at creating awareness of and support for quality afterschool programming. More than 7,000 sites across the country will participate in this event.
The Graham event starts at Graham Middle School at 3 p.m. with presentations, a popcorn bar and light snacks, then moves to Graham High School at 4:15 p.m. for presentations and a spaghetti dinner beginning at 5 p.m.
The Champaign Family YMCA staffers who lead the FLIGHT afterschool programs at Graham Middle School and Graham High School are Erin Lynch, the site coordinator for GMS FLIGHT; Lori Garrison, the FLIGHT program manager; and Grace Fonseca, the site coordinator for GHS FLIGHT.
The FLIGHT Afterschool program is funded by a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant and managed by the Champaign Family YMCA. The program launched at Graham in 2018 with a focus on academic enrichment, youth development and parent engagement.
“We hope that people will join us on Thursday to get a better understanding of the impact that the FLIGHT afterschool programs have on the students we serve,” Garrison said. “We’re focusing on hands-on STEM activities proven to help students become better learners and give them viable options for career exploration.”
Because Graham Elementary and Middle schools have been designated as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Schools in Ohio, the FLIGHT program expands on the STEM concept with afterschool tutoring and enrichment experiences in robotics, engineering, NASA curriculum, coding and healthy living activities.
The high school FLIGHT program supports college and career exploration with activities like ACT prep, small pilot ground school, and drone certification. The FLIGHT program has also funded a STEM Lab and MakerSpace at the middle and high school programs.
FLIGHT activities reflect the agricultural character of the Graham community. The schools have been gifted with 26 acres (named Falcon Farms by students) that are planted in corn and soybeans each year by FFA students. The middle school and the FLIGHT program have built a teaching greenhouse and raised vegetable beds, pollination gardens and green spaces. Students raise chickens, bees and trout; maintain a game trail; practice composting and recycling; operate a weather station; and learn about caring for the Earth in environmental education classes.
Submitted by the Champaign Family YMCA.