Grant getting students in the pool

BLACKFOOT – Kids in the after school program at Wapello Elementary spent part of their afternoon taking swimming lessons at the Blackfoot Swimming Pool.
With the help of a 21st Century Grant, students at Wapello Elementary, Fort Hall Elementary and Independence High School are able to participate in after school enrichment activities.
Wapello has 60 students participating in this after school activity. That’s about one-third of the student population at the school. Thirty students from Fort Hall Elementary participate in this program and 25 students from Independence High School participate and also work with the elementary students.
“Anyone can sign up,” said Wapello site coordinator Joy Mickelsen. “It’s free of charge.”
The after school activities take place from 2:40 -5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Parents or guardians pick up the students after 5 p.m. Students sign up a semester at a time—either from September through December or January through April or both.
“We ask them to commit to coming three of the four days each week,” Mickelsen said.
There is not only an enrichment activity but students also spend one half hour on homework and another half hour at the computer.
“We even provide a snack,” she said.
Some of the activities in which the students have or will participate include swimming lessons, peer mentoring—cooking, playing games and problem solving—bowling, 4-H, dance with Miiko Toussaint and sign language.
“It’s not more school,” said Mickelsen. “It’s more enrichment.”
Students at Independence High School are providing a Spook Alley, carnival with chili and cinnamon rolls for the after school kids on Oct. 30, she said. Last year, students from Independence conducted a book drive so they could give a book to each elementary student in the program.
Coordinators at the three sites are Mickelsen at Wapello, Kathy Malm at Fort Hall Elementary and Holly Kartchner at Independence.